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Southern Vermont College Will Close After Spring Semester

An Italian-inspired cascade on the campus of Southern Vermont College. Greenery in the background.
Ric Cengeri
VPR File
A cascade on the campus of Southern Vermont College. The school announced via press release Monday that it will close at the end of the 2019 spring semester.

Southern Vermont College, in Bennington, announced Monday that it will be closing at the end of the spring semester. The college's president, David Evans, made the announcement in a press release sent out Monday morning.

Evans said the college's board of trustees voted to close the school following a show-cause hearing with the New England Commission of Higher Education which looked into the school's financial resources.

In the press release, Evans said:

"During recent days, the board, the administration, and our attorneys have continued a careful analysis of the college’s financial condition, including the clear adverse impact on future enrollment caused by publicity around the show-cause hearing. ... "This is not an outcome anyone desired or sought, but given our specific financial challenges and lack of resources, regional demographics, the enrollment challenges facing small private colleges throughout the country, and increased scrutiny from our accreditor, it is the most responsible path."

Southern Vermont College is the second college in the state to announce it is abruptly closing this year. Green Mountain College, in Poultney, voted in January to close its doors at the end of the spring semester.

Evans said Southern Vermont College's board of trustees voted Friday to close the school, and then learned on Saturday that the New England Commission of Higher Education voted to withdraw the college's accreditation effective Aug. 31.

Since Southern Vermont College will maintain its accreditation through the end of the semester, Evans said the school will be able to award degrees to students who are finishing their studies this year.

Evans also stated in the press release:

"Please note that NECHE’s concern was limited to SVC’s finances only. The quality of the education we offer, institutional integrity, the transferability of courses, and the value of our degrees, are not in question. "Our highest goal is to protect continuing students as much as possible and ensure that they can continue their education with minimal disruption, and we have already taken extensive steps towards this end."

The college said it is working with other schools — including Norwich University, Castelton University and nearby Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts — to allow students from Southern Vermont College to transfer their credits.

The final commencement ceremony for the college is scheduled for May 18.

Read the full press release:

Howard Weiss-Tisman is Vermont Public’s southern Vermont reporter, but sometimes the story takes him to other parts of the state.
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