Around New England

Losing Last-Minute Financing, VT Catholic College Cancels Finals Week, Begins Closing

April 26, 2019

One of three Vermont colleges slated to close at the end of this academic year has canceled finals week.

The College of St. Joseph, located in Rutland and founded in 1956, announced that it will indeed be closing at the end of August after an interested “financial partner” withdrew from talks with the school in March.

The school was told in December, 2018 by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) that it was set to lose its accreditation should it not get its endowment and financial resources restructured. St. Joseph was given until April 1, 2019 to get its finances in order.

VT Digger reports that although commencement exercises are scheduled for May 18, no end-of-term exams will be given as the school continues with its “teach-out program,” a plan designed to help students receive course and degree credit through other institutions, like nearby Castleton State University.

Southern Vermont College in Bennington and Green Mountain College in Poultney are also closing this year. Meanwhile, Goddard College in Plainfield was recently placed on probation for insufficient financial resources by the NECHE.

St. Joseph most recently had about 350 students and offered degrees in 20 majors. According to the most recent data published in the Chronicle of Higher Education, the school’s endowment from 2014 fell 46% by 2015.

The College of St. Joseph web site states that the college was formed when “a core group of courageous women lead by Sr. Mary Matthew McDevitt, the college’s first president, formed St. Joseph’s Teacher’s College.” At the time of its founding in 1956, the school became affiliated with Catholic University of America. In 2008, the school formed a a unique program with other Vermont institutions to help foster children attend college; in 2015, the College of St. Joseph was named in the top 100 “Best Bang For The Buck” colleges in America by Washington Monthly.

 

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