A third university is stepping up to offer a helping hand to students at the College of New Rochelle, which is expected to shutter its doors at the conclusion of its summer semester.
In 2016, the college’s Board of Trustees was alerted about “significant unmet financial obligations that had accrued over a period of time.” The Board subsequently launched an investigation and enlisted the help of officials to restructure and manage CNR’s finances. A forensic accountant and outside legal counsel were also hired to perform the investigation.
Last week, the college announced that after 115 years in the community, CNR would be closing its doors for good. Following the announcement, area colleges have provided students and staff a new lease on life, and are stepping up to offer a helping hand to their neighbors.
Mercy College began working with the school several months ago, once it appeared that CNR's future may be in jeopardy. Though no deal has been finalized, CNR has been exploring partnerships with area colleges to help their students find new homes.
“Mercy College has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with The College of New Rochelle to offer its students an uninterrupted pathway to continue their education at Mercy,” officials announced. “Both Colleges hope to reach an agreement in the very near future and details will be announced as soon as they are finalized. As always, any decisions we make will prioritize the best interests of the entire Mercy College Community.”
Additionally, Iona College announced that it will provide special scholarships for CNR graduate students to transfer to similar Iona graduate programs including Marriage and Family Therapy, Mental Health Counseling, School Psychology, Childhood Education, and Communication Sciences and Disorders, among others.
On Feb. 28, the College of Mount Saint Vincent in the Bronx announced that it will be offering “personalized transfer options” for CNR students.
“The culture at The College of New Rochelle is very similar to what we have here at Mount Saint Vincent,” President Charles Flynn, Jr., said “Our colleges reflect the Catholic tradition. We share an abiding commitment to liberal education. And we remain true to our traditions of high quality, transformative education through academic excellence and authentic inclusivity. Recognizing our many shared qualities, we extend our resources and support to the students of The College of New Rochelle.”
According to the college, “education at Mount Saint Vincent goes beyond knowledge, skills, and preparation for work. We cultivate independent thinkers ready to apply critical inquiry toward lives of leadership, service, and innovation. Mount students go on to study at the finest graduate and professional schools in the nation. They become leaders and innovators in the global community. Our graduates leave our doors to become CEOs, doctors, lawyers, nurses, teachers, writers, analysts, and so much more.”
The investigation into CNR’s finances ultimately found that CNR hadn’t paid upwards of $20 million in payroll taxes dating back to 2014. It determined that the college’s controller failed to file the required tax returns and to pay the taxes due. It also revealed that senior management did not provide accurate information to the Board about the college’s finances. The investigation also revealed other significant debts, liabilities and depletion of assets - including the unrestricted endowment - that total more than $11 million.
CNR took extreme measures following the discovery of the misappropriated money, launching several fundraisers and soliciting donations for alumni. They raised millions of dollars, but the debt ultimately piled up, leading to Friday’s announcement. They sold off assets at a real estate auction and sought to secure a partnership to help the institution stay afloat.
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