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Two Colleges Announce An Agreement As One Is Closing

With The College of New Rochelle in Westchester County, New York closing its doors, an agreement is in the works to send the students to a new campus in the Hudson Valley.

The College of New Rochelleand Mercy College have announced an agreement creating what they say will be a seamless pathway for CNR students to continue their education. Both colleges are in the process of obtaining the regulatory approvals needed. In response to the news in February of the CNR closing, Marist College in Poughkeepsie is reaching out to potential transfer students. Kent Rinehart is assistant vice president of enrollment management and dean of undergraduate admission at Marist.

“Well, we wanted to give students the opportunity who were interested in Marist to look at our academic programs and look at the community that we have,” says Rinehart. “And if they felt that we were a match in terms for what they were looking for in terms of a college education, we are standing at the ready to help students with the application process, with evaluating their transfer credits, with providing aggressive financial aid packages to make Marist a viable and attractive option from The College of New Rochelle.”

And while certainly students may apply to transfer to any college, Marist is actively making an attempt to welcome prospective CNR students.

“We recognize this is an emotional time for the students that are at The College of New Rochelle to be in this position where the institution that many of them love and are having a great experience is not going to be available to them,” Rinehart says. “And we wanted to reach out and say, we’re here to help if you feel that Marist might be a match.”

A College of New Rochelle representative did not respond to a request for comment. In a March 5 web post, the college president and Board of Trustees interim chair say the agreement of mutual cooperation will ensure a seamless transition for CNR students to continue their education at Mercy. They expressed deep appreciation to Mercy and say the two colleges have similar histories and student populations, along with comparable academic programs and campus locations. A Mercy College spokesperson did not return a request for comment.

Mercy College President Tim Hall, also in a March 5 web update, says the college hopes to hire many of CNR’s faculty over the next few weeks and lease space on CNR’s campus in New Rochelle, Brooklyn and Manhattan. He delivered an address available on the college’s web site regarding the agreement.

“We do not expect that we will be immediately trying to transfer students from one of CNR’s campus locations to one of Mercy’s campus locations,” Hall says. “We hope to lease space at CNR’s current campus in New Rochelle so that we can continue to serve students there in the short term. And we’re also going to look at taking over leases that CNR currently has in some other locations.”

The administrators say most CNR students will see the same or lower tuition and will not lose credits or time toward graduation. The announcement did not include a closure date for the College of New Rochelle. Again, Mercy’s Hall, in his address.

“Mercy doesn’t currently offer all of the programs that The College of New Rochelle does,” says Hall. “And so one of the things that’s going on right now is we’re seeking permission from the state of New York and from other accrediting bodies to offer those new programs so that students at The College of New Rochelle will be able to continue on their pathway to a degree.

Marist College’s Rinehart says there are a number of factors involved.

“There are fewer students that are graduating from high school, and so the demographics are not kind to colleges. And some colleges are still trying to grow, and there’s very few colleges that are trying to get smaller. And so, those numbers don’t really work. So there’s that, along with colleges are continuing to leverage more and more financial aid. So the net tuition that colleges are bringing in in stagnant or even reducing in many cases. So there are certainly some colleges that are facing financial difficulties in terms of continuing to operate into the future,” Rinehart says. “At Marist, we’re very fortunate. We’re not in that position. We’re healthy fiscally. We’ve just opened up a space in New York City that we purchased. We’re going to be opening up a new medical school.”

The student population at Marist numbers more than 6,600. Mercy College has about 5,000 full-time undergraduates, with a total enrollment of just more than 9,000, 66 percent of whom are female. Mercy College’s main campus is in Dobbs Ferry, and has locations in Yorktown Heights, Manhattan, and the Bronx, as well as online.

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