Newbury College Just Announced It Plans to Close

It's the latest small college to bite the dust.


Brookline photo by Axel Drainville via Commons

Newbury College has announced that it plans to close after the spring semester, throwing the future into question for the Brookline private liberal arts school’s roughly 600 undergraduates, and providing another sign of peril for the region’s small colleges.

“It is with a heavy heart that I announce our intention to commence the closing of Newbury College, this institution we love so dearly,” Newbury College President Joseph L. Chillo said in a statement posted to the school’s website Friday. “Newbury’s top priority is to ensure that our students, our faculty, and our staff remain at the forefront of all we do in the coming weeks and months.”

The plan, says Chillo, is to shutter the 57-year-old institution after the spring semester, citing “financial challenges.” He notes in his letter that there is still time to save the college if it can strike some kind of a deal with another university in the state, but says the school’s leadership decided to alert students before they technically were required to, in order to give students time to prepare. He says negotiations are underway with other nearby colleges that might smooth the path for Newbury undergrads to transfer and continue pursuing their degrees.

“It is no secret that weighty financial challenges are pressing on liberal arts colleges throughout the country. Newbury College is no exception,” he wrote. “These financial challenges, the product of major changes in demographics and costs, are the driving factors behind our decision to close.”

Small private colleges have been grappling with a steep drop in enrollment in recent years, and many are struggling to keep their doors open amid greater demand for less-expensive public schools and other factors.

Mount Ida College, a small liberal arts school in Newton, abruptly closed in May, resulting in layoffs for 280 faculty members and unmooring 1,555 students. Financial issues may also force the closure of the College of St. Joseph in Vermont, which is at risk of losing accreditation.