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Mon Jul 1, 2019, 09:08 AM

Shuttered college campuses hit the market

If you’re looking for a bucolic property complete with historic buildings, a full suite of athletic facilities, and enough beds to sleep hundreds – you’re in luck.

A spate of college closures across New England, including three in Vermont, means prospective buyers with those criteria have options.

At Southern Vermont College in Bennington, a listing says amenities include an English country house-style mansion with views on Mount Anthony, walking distance to the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, and five dormitory halls. At Green Mountain College in Poultney, selling points include a carbon neutral campus, working farm, and a 30-minute drive to the Rutland regional airport. (The third college to close this year, the College of St. Joseph, is not on the market, although its leaders have sold off pieces of properties in recent years.)

But the campuses have their sticking points, too. Green Mountain College carries close to $20 million in debt with the USDA. Southern Vermont College is millions of dollars in debt, too – though far less than Green Mountain – and is facing two separate suits from former donors. The Vermont Land Trust also holds permanent conservation easements on large swaths of land owned by both colleges which preserve public access.

Read more: https://vtdigger.org/2019/06/30/shuttered-college-campuses-hit-the-market/

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Reply Shuttered college campuses hit the market (Original post)
TexasTowelie Jul 2019 OP
ROB-ROX Jul 2019 #1
TexasTowelie Jul 2019 #2
TexasTowelie Jul 2019 #3

Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Mon Jul 1, 2019, 05:10 PM

1. This will cost MONEY$$

It is sad these educational institutes are closed. I wonder why the state did not adopt these colleges? The amount of money required to keep colleges open is fantastic. Before I retired from the University of California I had heard the state university and state college system employed 100,000 people. The University has ten University campus, there are 23 state university colleges and three national laboratories (LBNL, LLNL, LANL) plus other associated campus. When a state prides itself with education the government and people contribute to support higher education. I guess in this state there wasn't any support for a local college......

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Response to ROB-ROX (Reply #1)

Mon Jul 1, 2019, 06:13 PM

2. It is a combination of money and declining enrollment that forced these colleges to close.

In addition to the three colleges mentioned in this article, Burlington College accounts for four colleges that closed in Vermont this decade, All of the colleges were private so some type of financial arrangement would have been necessary to take the colleges from private to public. Some of the colleges were niche colleges with missions and educational classes that did not make financial sense for students when comparing the tuition paid versus the economic opportunities and potential upon graduation.

Another possible factor was that in the public higher education arena a few years ago Johnson State College and Lyndon State College merged to form Northern Vermont University. That merger was based upon the declining enrollment at Johnson State. The state of Vermont probably only has limited funds to undertake the consolidation of schools, let alone assuming the debts that the private colleges incurred. For example, even after all of the assets of Burlington College were sold it still did not cover the debts. They were bankrupt.

The accreditation boards also implemented tougher financial standards during this decade. Is it wise public policy to keep extending a lifeline to these colleges when they are facing higher standards to stay accredited, declining enrollments, and no reasonable solution to fix their finances besides discontinuing the programs that attracted students to enroll?

While I'm saddened to see any educational institution close, there also needs to be a mission that attracts students and that is viable economically. The fact that these colleges didn't produce alumni that donated significant amounts or generate support in their communities to fund their endowments says something was wrong with their mission and that the people most directly affected by their continued existence didn't care. If those most affected didn't care, then why should the taxpayers gamble throwing good money after bad? The conditions for the private colleges may also get worse if a "free tuition" proposal for public colleges is adopted.

I agree that it will cost the communities where the colleges were located money and that the state will have to pay for unemployment benefits. There is also the lost opportunity to students to further themselves. However, I hope that the students that are affected by the closings will be able to complete their educations elsewhere.

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