Academic, support and transitional services will continue throughout the summer
WORCESTER, Mass. – March 29, 2021—After many months of thoughtful and deliberate investigation of strategic options that would stem the financial impacts of COVID-19 and other challenges, as experienced by many colleges of similar size and academic programs, the Becker College Board of Trustees unanimously made the difficult decision to permanently end academic programming at the end of the current academic year. The College will provide academic, support and transitional services to students through August 31, 2021. Following an orderly transition, classes will not resume in the Fall.
This year’s semester will continue as planned and will end with ceremonies for graduating seniors and recipients of master’s degrees, planned for Saturday, May 8, 2021.
The College has made arrangements with several area universities to provide admission to Becker students; those details are available on the Becker website. Becker College will not be admitting new students for the Fall 2021 semester. The admissions staff will work with current students and those accepted for Fall 2021 on potential admissions pathways; all tuition deposits will be refunded.
Becker will assist departing faculty and staff in finding new career opportunities after their employment with the College ends.
Christine L. Cassidy, chair of Becker’s Board of Trustees, said: “This was a deeply painful decision for the Board to make—one that the College administration made every possible effort to stave off, but one we came to realize in recent weeks was unavoidable. Our commitment going forward is to do everything we can to ensure our students finish this year strongly positioned to continue their education, and that they and all our faculty and staff get access to the best education and employment opportunities available.’’
To answer questions and provide detailed information about next steps, the College has developed a website for students, faculty, and staff, as well as the public.
Becker is one of scores of small, tuition-dependent colleges across the United States that have faced a mounting crisis in recent years with declining enrollments, rising costs, and the added challenge of maintaining physical campus operations while transitioning to online education due to COVID-19. As the spring semester began, even as Becker moved to re-open on-campus housing and classrooms, many residential students chose to become commuter students or engage in remote learning from home due to the continuing COVID crisis. All of these factors created significant new impacts on the budget.
For more than two years, Becker’s leadership has taken multiple actions to stabilize its finances.
“We pushed ourselves to develop scenarios in which Becker remained open for another year and beyond. However, those scenarios included more debt, selling assets, and further cutting operations. Guided by the advice of our auditors and other expert consultants, we concluded that this would be irresponsible and unsustainable over time,’’ said Cassidy. “As devastating as closing this 237-year-old institution is, we want this closure process to be one that conveys the maximum possible respect and support for everyone whose lives and careers we know it will affect.”
According to Becker College President Nancy P. Crimmin, Ed.D., the campus leadership team worked assiduously on an array of options. “Ultimately, the impacts of COVID-19 turned what was a very challenging situation into an unsustainable situation,’’ said Crimmin.
Becker’s trustees are in close communication with the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education and the College’s accreditation agencies, and to the best of our knowledge, Becker continues to comply fully with all federal and state laws and regulations governing college closures.