AMHERST, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts college is hoping to merge with another institution well before it reaches a financial crisis.

Hampshire College says it has a balanced budget and a healthy endowment, but it faces the same pressures that have forced other small schools to close.

To avoid that fate, the Amherst school announced Tuesday it’s looking for a “strategic partnership” to support its future.

President Miriam Nelson says the school is starting the process while it still has time.

Officials are weighing whether to enroll a new class for next fall. They plan to decide before Feb. 1, the planned date to issue admission decisions.

The private college opened in 1970 and enrolls around 1,300 students.

Several small Massachusetts colleges have closed in recent years, including Newbury College and Mount Ida College.

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