Rockford University Transition FAQ

FAQs: Rockford College to become Rockford University,
effective July 1, 2013.


New or updated information is noted with an asterisk.

*Revised 11/02/12
**Revised 3/15/13

What will the institution be known as officially?
Rockford University.

When will the change from Rockford College to Rockford University become official?
July 1, 2013. Until that time, Rockford College will continue to function as is. Work to fully complete the transition will be taking place from now until July 1, 2013.

What was the process behind this decision?
This topic is not necessarily new to Rockford College, as it has been in and out of discussions about the College’s future for years. However, more serious discussions concerning a change began over the last year and a half when College faculty and staff were asked to brainstorm about possible outcomes and implications for the institution, both positive and negative. More defined research regarding peer institutions that have also undergone a change in status was started and more formal discussions were raised with the trustees, alumni, students, faculty, staff, community leaders and other interested parties.

It is worth noting that over the past two decades, the evolution and innovation in our educational offerings has led us to be considered by sanctioning agencies, including the US News and World Report and the Carnegie Foundation, as a university. Rockford College is considered by others outside of our college as a small university and we have been held to that standard, and ranked against it in the marketplace for many years.

The Board of Trustees agrees with the prevailing sentiment of alumni, faculty and other stakeholders that this is a unique opportunity to openly champion the importance of liberal arts learning, and protect the institution’s historical commitment to that mission.

Will the transition to university status change Rockford College mission?
No. Like our previous changes in status, from our founding as Rockford Female Seminary in 1847 to Rockford College and from being a women’s institution to co-ed, this is intended to reinforce and clarify our current structure, not change our core mission and identity.

Our commitment to challenge and support learners in a curriculum grounded in liberal arts learning and complemented by professional and practical experiences will not change. We will continue to provide an education that prepares students for fulfilling lives, careers, and participation in a modern and changing global society.

The institution remains committed to maintaining and nurturing its core commitment to the liberal arts as the central point around which the entire university will function. Its priority will remain to employ liberal arts learning to positively and distinctly influence teaching and learning in the graduate and continuing education, and professional programs.

Rockford’s current student body of more than 1,250 students is already an example of what a university setting includes with populations of traditional undergraduate, adult undergraduate and graduate students. Undergraduate programs at the College include the traditional liberal arts and sciences, as well as professional programs. The college currently has two graduate programs with master’s degrees and certifications in business and education. Rockford also serves the area’s adult undergraduate population with the growing adult accelerated degree completion program where students are able to earn a bachelor’s of science in management studies (BSMS).

What are the expected benefits of University status?
This change will support the maturity of our structure and will clarify our standing in the world community. Officially becoming a university better defines the scope of our current offerings that include more than 80 areas of study and graduate degrees in teaching and business administration.

University designation is seen as integral to a number of strategic goals of the institution, including greater market recognition as a comprehensive institution, continued enrollment growth, expanded international partnerships and student recruitment, and ongoing improvement as a quality institution of higher education.

Internationally, where the designation of college is equated with high school level learning, a university designation further distinguishes our credibility and program offerings.

This change also helps to mitigate misunderstandings by distinguishing us from two-year or vocational colleges who do not designate "technical” or "community” from their names. For example, in Rockford there is also Rockford Career College and Rock Valley College. Our three institutions are regularly confused and many times thought to be one in the same.

Will the change to University mean bigger classes and more faculty?
The change to a university reflects who we are now with our complete offerings of programs, including graduate programs in business and education. Classes and faculty growth will occur naturally as programs grow, but it will not be because of the name change.

Did this change require approval from state or education agencies?
Rockford College will proceed with submitting all formal petitions for university designation to the State of Illinois and all accrediting agencies.

Will it cost a lot of money to change?
Rockford College will plan now to avoid incurring extraordinary costs to make this change. For example:

    • Existing supplies of stationery will be used. If additional quantities are needed, amounts can be closely estimated to match the timeline for transition that is in place.
    • The majority of our publications and recruitment pieces have a shorter shelf life so updates to those items can be planned as now as part of their normal production schedules.
    • Athletic uniforms and other items are replaced regularly. Any necessary changes can be incorporated into their existing replacement schedules.
    • Many of the signs on campus were already identified for replacement due to wear or because of location changes that have already been taken place. The cost of replacement for larger signage items will be worked into our existing budgeting processes and completed as soon as possible
    • It will take some time for a complete transition to take place and you will still see Rockford College on some items. We will work to make changes in the most efficient and cost effective means possible.

Will Rockford College be changing their logos, colors, seal, and mascot?
Graphic elements like our logo and updates to our seal will take place to incorporate the change to Rockford University. Our mascot will not change and we will continue to be known as The Regents!

Work separate from any change in status regarding our graphic identity and branding are regularly evaluated as part of our overall efforts to ensure we are effectively communicating the value of the institution. We anticipate there will be updates to refresh both our graphic identity and reinforce our strong brand for all audiences of the institution.

*Will Rockford College change its NCAA Division III status?
No, there are no planned changes in our NCAA status a a Division III institution, or in the athletic conference we participate in currently. For more about Rockford College Athletics, visit

Will Rockford College have a new web address?
No, Rockford College will keep the same web address:

Will Rockford College cost more now that it is a University?
No, tuition costs will not change due to the new university status. Tuition expenses change due to fluctuations in costs of education and will continue to be evaluated yearly, as always has been the institution’s practice.

*Will Rockford College cost less now that it is a University?
No, tuition costs will not change due to the new university status. Tuition expenses change due to fluctuations in costs of education and will continue to be evaluated yearly, as always has been the institution’s practice.

Will current students be graduates of Rockford College or Rockford University?
Over the course of the next several months, extensive study and work will be completed, led by our Academic Affairs office, to refine our current academic structure under a university umbrella. Students graduating in December 2012 and May 2013 will be graduates of Rockford College. Current students graduating in 2014 and beyond will be graduates of Rockford University.

**If I am a graduate of Rockford College, can I get a new diploma that says Rockford University?
Yes. Alumni who request a new diploma will be able to order one after July 1, 2013, that says Rockford University.

We are providing an option for Alumni to request a Rockford University diploma at no additional cost if the order is placed to coincide with bulk orders that are placed by the University. Deadlines to order are September 1 (diploma will be received in October), January 1 (diploma will be received in February), or June 1 (diploma will be received in July). If you would like a diploma with a new Rockford University hard cover, there is a $20 fee for the cover.

If Alumni wish to order a diploma outside of the standard bulk ordering deadlines, the replacement fees are as follows:

  • $35 for diploma only (including postage).
  • $45 for diploma with new Rockford University hard cover (including postage).

The standard diploma size is 8’’ x 10’’ and it will be signed by the current president.

To request a new diploma after July 1, 2013, contact Student Administrative Services at

How should we refer to Rockford University on a resume?
The decision is up to the resume owner; however, we suggest that you indicate Rockford University (formerly known as Rockford College).

Whom should I contact for more information?
You may contact the Director of Communications, Rita Elliott, at

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