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Proposed Nebraska college faces obstacles before opening

June 14, 2018

BLAIR, Neb. (AP) — Officials proposing a Christian university in eastern Nebraska face financial and administrative challenges before opening the school on a defunct college campus.

Charis University President Marv Overman aims to open the school in Blair by August, the Omaha World-Herald reported . The university first needs a few hundred thousand dollars in the coming weeks to open at the former Dana College campus, in addition to $1 million to cover the first year.

Overman must submit an application to the Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education within the next few days, said Kathleen Fimple, the commission’s academic programs officer. The commission will consider the proposed new institution’s intent, programming, expected enrollment and any evidence that Charis University can be sustained in the long term.

Commissioners will also look into the university’s facilities, which Overman still needs to negotiate and settle with the current owner of the Dana property. Dana College closed in 2010.

Charis University will offer programs including Christian ministry, fine arts and teacher education. The school will provide apprenticeships, life transitions help, online courses, two-year programs, four-year programs and graduate work.

The university plans to utilize some students as staff to keep costs down. A culinary training program would run the campus dining facility.

Greg Koehn, a member of Charis’ advisory board, said he believes there’s a market for a university of spiritual training, mentoring and trades.

“I’m convinced there’s still a niche for that,” he said.

Overman said his faith will help him overcome the financial obstacles and secure the university’s approval.

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com

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