Hampshire College Seeks Partner for Merger Amid Financial Strain
“When we look several years out, we are concerned about our future”
This situation is so serious that the school is debating whether or not to enroll freshmen for next fall.
The Boston Globe reports:
Hampshire College puts freshman class in doubt, merger on the table
In a sign of New England’s swiftly evolving higher education landscape, Hampshire College on Tuesday announced its desire to merge with another educational institution, citing financial strain that threatens its future. The school is also evaluating whether to admit a freshman class for the fall.
The news came in an e-mail from the president of the liberal arts college in Amherst, which is known for its nontraditional curriculum and gradeless courses.
“When we look several years out, we are concerned about our future,” the president, Miriam Nelson, said in an interview.
At a press conference on campus, she stressed: “We are not planning to shut down.”
The potential merger adds new depth to the crisis facing small colleges across the country. Hampshire is one of the more elite schools to announce such plans. So far, at least in New England, the schools that have merged or closed have been less selective and less well-known.
Nelson said Hampshire would like to have a merger partner in place by June. That would give the schools a year to work out the transition before Hampshire’s 50th anniversary in June 2020.
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“Liberal arts college” says it all. “Non-traditional curriculum and gradeless courses” fills in the answer to the question of how students with no chance of ever finding employment can expect to do anything except pour coffee and flip burgers in order to pay off their loans.
I did my grad work at nearby UMass (Early 80’s). At the time someone had graduated Hampshire College with a degree in frisbee. It was often called, “Advanced High School for the Rich”. SNL had made fun of it in the “Jarret’s Room” sketches, with Horatio Sanchez and Jimmy Fallon.