Bloomfield College in Danger of Closing Without Financial Assistance
“financial challenges have only been exacerbated by the pandemic.”
In a scenario that has become familiar, the school was already struggling but the pandemic pushed it over the edge.
N.J. college says it may shut down if it doesn’t get financial help
One of New Jersey’s oldest and most historic private colleges took the highly unusual step Tuesday of admitting it is in financial trouble and it may close unless it finds someone to get the school out of the red.
Officials at Bloomfield College, a four-year college in Essex County, say this may be its last year without a financial overhaul or a partnership with another college. In a frank plea for help, they asked potential donors or partners to contact them.
“The Board of Trustees and Bloomfield College’s administration are exploring all options to support our students and remain open in order to continue the college’s core mission. We seek institutions or philanthropists that share the values around our mission and will see us as a valuable partner,” said Vernon Endo, chairman of the Bloomfield College Board of Trustees.
Bloomfield College has enough money to complete the 2021-2022 school year, but it is uncertain if it can reopen next fall, officials said.
Enrollment has been falling over the last decade and the coronavirus pandemic has further strained campus finances, school officials said. The college, which enrolled 1,533 students last year, primarily serves low-income, minority and first-generation college students.
Marcheta Evans, the college’s president, outlined the school’s money problems and enrollment declines in a town hall meeting for students and staff earlier this week.
“The resulting financial challenges have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. And, Bloomfield is not alone. Many small private liberal arts colleges in the Northeast and across the country face similar challenges,” Evans said in a letter to the campus posted on the school’s website.
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Sad. Bloomfield is a sweet little college that helps a lot of underprivileged people get ahead in life. They do God’s work for the least of these (some famous guy used that phrase) in a way Rutgers and the Ivies never will.
That said, we’re going to see more of this in the next few years. The small local and regional liberal arts colleges are going to all start failing for financial reasons. The business model just doesn’t work any more.
The Williams and Middleburies and Elons and Carletons of the world will carry on because they offer parents prestigious bumper stickers to put on their Chevy Behemoths while their kids get prestigious credentials to take to grad school or Wall Street. They’ll just validate the upper-middle-class status their students already have and set them up to continue it.
But there are scores of St. Katherines and St. Maries and St. Joseph’s and whatnot running on a shoestring that just won’t be able to hold together much longer.
Too bad; they really filled a social need.
That’s one way to look at it. Another is that these campus can form ready-made infrastructure for the “unwoke private universities and/or lower schools” that we should be founding to hire and retain all the valuable unwoke educators who are being cancelled from other positions.
College is not supposed to be a social needs institution, it is supposed to provide trained workers that our country needs.
Well, first of all, no; post-secondary education is supposed to be education for its own sake. Training skilled workers for a specific job is the role of industry via apprenticeships or, possibly, private technical or trade schools. The muddling of the boundaries between those two is a large part of why we’re in the mess we’re in.
That said, a quick spin through Bloomfield’s programs reveals a fairly traditional slate of technical, trade and job-focused offerings, with only a few arts and humanities programs (I minored in Classical Studies myself, but A&H is where the social justice dragons lair).
I suspect catering to “low-income, minority and first-generation college students” was their downfall. There are cheaper diploma mills out there; Bloomfield’s annual tuition is $30K, making a four year degree $120K. That’s unsustainable debt for a degree from a private New Jersey college no one’s ever heard of, and if “94.5% of our students receive grants or scholarships” then that’s not a college, it’s a charity.
Yeah, that’s my point above about the business model. I think helping low-income people get an education is a great endeavor, but you just can’t do it anymore with the current small liberal arts college scheme and what it costs to run. We’ll see a lot more of this in the next few years.
Well, the “social need” to which I refer is helping poor people get an education so they have some economic and social mobility. Teach them to fish, etc, from the old cliche. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.
With all due respect, I thought colleges depended greatly on their grads to build their reputation. Successful graduates both confirm the benefits of their education, and can usually be depended on for generous contributions. Also, given their focus the underprivileged community, I would think they would be eligible for any number of grants or gifts from virtue-signaling corporations. I don’t know this college. I do know that small Hillsdle College in Michigan has been doing very well. And Hillsdale accepts no federal money. Hillsdale is actually expanding into the K-12 field by establishing charter schools throughout the country.
Prof. Jacobson: you do realize that Rich Levao (Bloomfield College President until June 2019) is a Cornell Law alumnus and was an adjunct faculty member.