Becker College, a private school in Worcester, Massachusetts, will close at the end of the academic year, its board announced Monday.
In a statement, board chair Christine Cassidy said the body was forced to close the school due to financial problems made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Th school, one of the 25 oldest colleges in the country, will provide academic support and transitional services to students through Aug. 31.
"There have been rumors for years about the closing, but yeah, I'm not too surprised," said Becker College senior Anthony Papetti.
"It's definitely hard, and props to them for being honest and letting people know that they tried their best," said Becker Bookstore employee Yasmine Museme.
The pandemic compounded problems stemming from low enrollment in 2018 and 2019, Cassidy said.
"In 2020, the COVID-19 crisis quickly accelerated the need to take more aggressive actions necessary to maintain a reasonable and responsible balance sheet, and to operate the college in a fiscally responsible manner,” Cassidy said. “In addition to a greater investment in technology – remote learning comes at a cost – there was an unanticipated and significant drop in the number of students who, due to the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, chose not to live on campus, never registered, took a leave of absence, or dropped out.
“This loss of revenue had a dramatic impact on the ability of the College to continue to maintain financial day-to-day college operations.”
The school’s final graduation is currently set for May 8.
"It was like déjà vu," said Becker College senior Melissa Gilson, who was transferred to Becker after Mount Ida closed in 2018.
Now, Gilson will have to find another grad school.
"With Mount Ida, there was literally no warning, it was just like, boom, we're closed," said Gilson. "Here, they actually told us, and it was like, here we go again, I can't believe this is happening again, why me?"
But Worcester's higher education community is stepping up to help out.
Quinsigamond Community College is offering transfers for a number of associates degrees -- including in nursing and early childhood education.
And Clark University has established the Becker School of Design and Technology to house Becker's internationally-ranked gaming program.
"This is a nationally-recognized, highly-ranked program that is a real gem in the Worcester Higher Education ecosystem, so our ability to keep it here in Worcester is tremendously important," said Clark University President David Fithian.