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The College of Saint Rose, a Roman Catholic institution in New York, will close in May following its spring 2024 term, following a vote by its governing board Thursday.
The college faced significant financial distress after a decade-plus of declining enrollment, compounded by the pandemic’s lingering effects, according to the college’s president, Marcia White.
The trustees tried several cost-cutting measures, as well as recruitment initiatives to boost revenue, White said. But in the end they couldn’t overcome the college’s projected operating cash deficit of $11.3 million.
White attributed the 103-year-old college’s financial woes in part to the number of prospective college students dwindling.
“Of course, Saint Rose is not alone,” White wrote in a Dec. 1 letter to the college community. “The same challenges plague many small independent colleges, particularly those here in the Northeast.”
Saint Rose enrolled just under 2,800 students in fall 2022, down from almost 4,700 students a decade prior, according to federal data.
The college’s leaders tried to right its finances through eliminating academic programs and positions and reducing administrator salaries, officials said. Trustees also refinanced the college’s debt, asked donors to lift restrictions on their endowment contributions and sold off campus facilities.
But the resulting cash flow still wasn’t enough to offset Saint Rose’s deficit.
The acquisition route didn’t work either: Saint Rose had failed in its search to be taken over by another higher ed institution.
The college will establish a teach-out plan for students who won’t graduate in May. It will also honor all financial aid commitments through the current academic year.