The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education said Becker’s financial situation has become “sufficiently uncertain” that it threatens the college's long-term viability.
“The department is working closely with the college to engage in contingency closure planning in the event the institution decides not to sustain operations at or near current levels for the next academic year, and to ensure students will have opportunities to transfer to other institutions of higher education with minimal disruption to their education,” the department said in a statement.
Like many other small private colleges in New England, Becker has faced enrollment declines in recent years. Currently, it enrolls 1,500 students. The pandemic put additional pressure on the college’s precarious finances, despite it receiving $3.31 million from the federal government as part of the first round of the Paycheck Protection Program and another $1.6 million from the CARES Act.
The college had been negotiating with a potential partner, but those talks ended in January, the Globe reported. Now, the college is talking with the University of Massachusetts system, which may take on some of Becker’s programs. Some Becker students may also be able to transfer to public universities in the state.
“We would be in a good position to take in Becker students,” Marty Meehan, president of the University of Massachusetts system, told the Globe. “We’ve been preparing for this. There are many other colleges and universities in New England that are in a difficult position.”
The college has ceased recruiting, but it continues preregistration for classes.