103-year-old institution to cease academic instruction after the current academic year
Albany, NY – The College of Saint Rose Board of Trustees voted yesterday to cease academic instruction after the end of the 2023-2024 academic year. The College will continue to serve its undergraduate and graduate students, and offer a full Spring 2024 course schedule. (The College will hold its 101st and final commencement in May of 2024).
“It is with a heavy heart that Board decided to close the college at the end of this academic year,” Board Chair Jeffrey D. Stone said. The Board determined that the College does not have the financial resources to operate for the full 2024-2025 academic year and therefore cannot remain a standalone institution.”
Like many small, private higher-education institutions in the Northeast, the College has struggled to manage operating expenses in the face of declining enrollment caused by both a shrinking pool of high school graduates and the prolonged negative impact of COVID-19, said Stone.
“We are devastated that despite all our efforts we were unable to avoid closure,” Stone said. “Our goal now is to ease the transition for our students, faculty, and staff.”
The College will assist students to graduate in May or continue their studies elsewhere and will outline a clear pathway for them to earn their degrees. That transition will be guided by a formal institutional teach-out plan, as required by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and the New York State Education Department. The plan will enable the closure to proceed in an orderly manner to minimize its impact on the students and College community, officials said.
Officials added that the College’s Human Resource department will be available as a resource to assist faculty, administrators and staff with their career transition.
College President Marcia White told students, staff and faculty at an emotional community gathering today that the 103-year-old independent college, founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, would not reopen in the Fall of 2024. “We are heartbroken to have to share this devastating news with the students and our community,” she said. “The Trustees and I are profoundly grateful to the College’s faculty and staff who have remained committed to Saint Rose and have dedicated their lives to fulfilling its mission.”
White said the Board has been laser-focused on sustaining the institution. In recent years, she said, the Board eliminated high-cost academic programs, instituted administrator, staff and faculty layoffs, reduced pension contributions, cut administrator salaries, re-financed the College’s debt, requested donors to unrestrict endowed funds, sold non-essential buildings, raised scholarship funds, and implemented a variety of new recruitment initiatives and strategies. The Board also engaged national consultants and, with the President, worked with a number of institutions to identify a strategic long-term partnership.
“For more than a century, Saint Rose has transformed the lives of countless students, and our students continue to be our highest priority,” said White. “We understand the profound impact this announcement will have on them and their families, as well as our faculty, staff and community members in the City of Albany, the greater Capital Region, and beyond.”
“The College is an institution of higher learning that offers students access to a quality education and a pathway to a successful future,” White said, noting that one third of Saint Rose’s undergraduates are first generation and nearly 40 percent come from low-income, Pell-eligible households. More than 40 percent of the College’s students are students of color and two thirds are women.
White said that about 80% of the College’s students hail from New York State, and many graduates remain in-state where they continue to contribute to their respective communities.
“This closure does not diminish the incredible impact that the College’s 50,000 alumni have had on the world, and in particular, this area of New York state. They are changing lives in education, health care, the law, social work, and in public service – as well as innovating as business leaders,” White said.
Sister Joan Mary Hartigan, Province Director of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet, Albany Province, said, “The Sisters of Saint Joseph founded the College in 1920 with the motto, “In Thy light, we shall see light.” The light of Saint Rose will continue to shine brightly in the lives of its graduates, especially in the many thousands of Saint Rose-educated teachers shaping future leaders in schools across the nation. Though we are saddened by this news, we recognize that the needs of society change and that human institutions must adapt. We are profoundly grateful to the leadership and trustees of St. Rose for their extraordinary dedication to the College, to the faculty and staff for their loyal service and encouragement, and to our many friends and supporters who have so generously supported this very special institution.”
White concluded, “We know the College’s indelible impact, mission and legacy will live on through the contributions of each member of the Saint Rose community, past and present.”
About The College of Saint Rose: Founded in 1920, The College of Saint Rose is a private independent college in the state capital of Albany, New York. The College is home to nearly 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students across 77 bachelor’s, master’s, certificate, dual and accelerated programs, including those who are enrolled in graduate leadership and administration courses offered to New York State educators in partnership with the Center for Integrated Training and Education (CITE). Students experience a Theory in Action approach to learning in their undergraduate and graduate studies, and the College lives its founding mission of serving the dear neighbor and meeting the needs of the times. The College will hold its 101st and final commencement in May 2024 when the graduates will join nearly 50,000 Saint Rose alumni nationwide.