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Iona College Issues Lifeline To Students Following CNR Closing Announcement

Iona College. Photo Credit: Contributed
The College of New Rochelle. Photo Credit: CNR

Iona College is offering a lifeline to some students at the College of New Rochelle following last week’s announcement that the institution is likely to close at the end of the summer semester as they contend with a financial crisis.

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.

On Friday, CNR announced that after 115 years, it is likely to shutter its doors as it deals with millions of dollars of debt and misappropriated funds.

Iona 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.

Qualified undergraduate transfer students who wish to continue studying in the city will also be assisted in the form of special transfer credit reviews, tours and financial aid assistance, Iona announced.

"Recognizing our shared mission, history and home in the City of New Rochelle, we believe it is vital to take steps to support students of The College of New Rochelle," Iona President Joseph Nyre said. "We are confident other area institutions will also work to support CNR students.”

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.

"Building on our growing presence in health science and allied healthcare programs, and in recognition of the national nursing shortage, we look forward to working with Dr. (Debra) Simons to expand our current programs to include additional allied health programs,” Iona Provost and senior Vice President Darrell Wheeler added. ”The announcement by CNR of their summer closure underscores the need for nursing in our area, as well as a continued pipeline to ensure local workforce needs are met."

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