Becker College in Worcester, Massachusetts is in danger of closing down by the end of this academic year according to state higher education regulators, who warned on Tuesday that the college’s financial situation may not be able to sustain operations much longer.
The Boston Globe reported that the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education released a statement detailing how Becker’s financial situation had become “sufficiently uncertain,” as to threaten its long-term viability. The outlet also pointed out that Becker’s endowment remained at roughly $4.4 million from 2013 to 2018, as per the college’s most recent public financial statements.
With such a modest endowment fund, the college has had to rely on student tuition to maintain its revenue. This makes it difficult for Becker to respond to sudden changes in enrollment.
Many students have chosen to pause their studies or reconsider their college plans due to family illnesses and the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic, which has dealt a bigger blow to colleges that rely on enrollment to fund operations. Institutions have also had to spend more on sanitation measures to keep campuses safe, creating an additional financial burden.
The college had been hoping to partner with another college in an attempt to stay afloat, but according to Becker President Nancy P Crimmin, the effort failed.
The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education and the New England Commission of Higher Education released a statement regarding the work the two entities have undertaken on “contingency closure planning.” They will also be working with students who are currently enrolled in Becker, helping them transfer to other schools.
Becker’s Influence on the Community
News of Becker’s financial woes are also concerning for the local community because its college campus encompasses vast swathes of the area around town, especially with its Victorian homes-turned-dormitories and athletic fields, which locals sometimes use.
Town Administrator David Genereux told the Telegram and Gazette that Becker closing could hurt local businesses and “change things in town.”
“It’s an integral part of the community and to see the (financial) condition it’s in is concerning,” Genereux said. “They’ve always been a good neighbor.”