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On October 7, 2011, the local ordinary, Bishop Frank Joseph Dewane, formally recognized the institution as a Catholic university pursuant to the code of canon law.In December 2015, The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools reaffirmed Ave Maria University's accreditation.The 2008 financial crisis took a toll on Ave Maria's finances.Monaghan said in 2012 that Ave Maria's construction cost estimates doubled over three years, requiring the university to cut back on planned buildings.In 2016, the Supreme Court unanimously sent the case back to federal appeals court to find a solution that would both honor religious organizations objections and provide their employees with birth control.Ave Maria administrators celebrated the decision as a "great victory." In response, Monaghan announced a milder form of civic planning in which the town could mostly grow on its own, except that it would not have sex shops or strip clubs, and store owners would be asked rather than ordered not to sell contraceptives or porn. News & World Report reported that the university had a student–teacher ratio of 12:1, with 696 undergraduate students paying an average of ,440 in tuition and fees for the school year 2011–2012, with some also paying ,350 for a dorm room and meals.The Ave Maria School of Law is controlled by a board that is independent of AMU.
While occupying the interim campus, Monahgan focused efforts on constructing a new campus and planned community nearby known as Ave Maria, Florida.
In June 2010, the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) declared that Ave Maria had obtained "accredited membership" status.
This allows the university to award bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees accredited by the SACS.
Contraception and porn would still be banned from the university. The university's rating was in "Tier 2", below 178 other American colleges ranked in "Tier 1".
Although they were both established by Monaghan, the Ave Maria School of Law and Ave Maria University are separate entities.
Towey credits his efforts at controlling financing costs, along with increased contributions, with placing the University back on a firm financial footing by 2014.