The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has withdrawn accreditation from Alliance University, effective Dec. 31. The move comes after the accreditor placed the institution on show cause status in March due to financial concerns and various other issues.
Alliance University, a private Christian university in New York, was formerly known as Nyack College until a name change last fall. Alliance also maintains a seminary in Puerto Rico.
The loss of accreditation—which is subject to appeal—is the latest blow for the small college; it is also on heightened cash monitoring status with the U.S. Department of Education.
Alliance, like many small, private institutions, has struggled with shrinking enrollment in recent years. In fall 2021, the latest semester for which federal data are available, the college enrolled 1,863 students—a slight decline from 1,981 in fall 2019, the last semester before the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. and slowed enrollment nationally. But enrollment at Alliance has dropped steeply over the past decade, from a total of 3,082 students in fall 2013, according to the Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.
In an email to Inside Higher Ed, Alliance president Rajan Mathews said he was “very disappointed to receive the notice from MSCHE” and believed that the college had “presented very credible and compelling evidence as to our financial viability and plans for the future.”
Mathews said the college’s “financial health had already improved considerably and we were expecting to have a bumper student recruiting season leading to positive cash flow and operational self-sufficiency in the years ahead.” Additionally, the university has seen strong fundraising support. Mathews said he was “mystified” by the accreditation decision and noted that the university’s Board of Trustees would meet Monday night to consider its next steps.
“Given the fact of the extensive minority communities we serve, we believe [New York City] will be impoverished if we were to close,” Mathews said.
This item has been updated to correct the spelling of the president's name; it's Mathews, not Matthews.