With the College of New Rochelle likely to close its doors at the conclusion of its summer semester, area colleges are lining up to offer an assist to students from the 115-year-old institution.
Last week, CNR announced that due to a three-year financial crisis, it will likely be forced to shut down as it deals with crippling debt.
In response, area colleges are taking measures to ensure that students are able to continue their education in the Hudson Valley.
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.”
In addition to taking on students, if approved by both colleges, some staff from CNR may also make their way to Mercy College campuses. No deal has been officially approved.
“Both colleges had hoped to have an agreement finalized before making a formal announcement,” Mercy College President Tim Hall said. “However, CNR felt it needed to inform its bondholders of its current financial situation immediately - and at the same time - make its community aware of matters.
“Mercy and CNR share similar heritages and missions and have substantially similar course offerings. Mercy is actively working with the regulatory agencies seeking the needed approvals to continue offering all the programs necessary for CNR students to press forward to graduation and to provide a path forward at Mercy for prospective CNR students.”
Iona College also announced that it will be providing scholarships for CNR graduate students, and offering undergraduate students special transfer credits. Mercy College stated that it has been in talks to directly transfer students from CNR to Mercy College.
The investigation into CNR’s finances ultimately found that the school 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 went through extensive measures to cut costs and raise funds, but it was to no avail. Mercy College is not expected to take on any of CNR’s outstanding debts.
"Mercy is uniquely positioned financially and academically to offer current CNR students uninterrupted pathways to continue the education they sought at CNR,” Hall added. "Mercy is actively working with the regulatory agencies seeking the needed approvals to continue offering all the programs necessary for CNR students to press forward to graduation, and to provide a path forward at Mercy for prospective CNR students.
“This is a difficult time for the CNR community, but Mercy is committed to helping CNR’s students along their educational journeys and to helping preserve the history and legacy of CNR into the future.”
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