By Staff

WORCESTER (CBS) — Becker College, a private school with campuses in Worcester and Leicester, is at risk of closing. Officials said the coronavirus pandemic has created an uncertain financial situation, and “contingency closure planning” is underway to protect students.

“Owing in large part to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Becker College’s financial situation has become sufficiently uncertain such that the Department of Higher Education (Department) believes that the institution is unlikely to sustain full operations through the next academic year,” the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education and the New England Commission of Higher Education said in a statement Tuesday.

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There are nearly 1,700 students at the school, which was founded in Leicester in 1784. Tuition for the 2021-2022 school year is $37,850. Becker said its animal science, video game design and nursing programs have earned national recognition.

“As stewards of Becker College, the Board of Trustees has been working to examine a number of challenges facing higher education, including the decline of college-age students, the increased cost of providing a high-quality education and, most recently, the Covid-19 pandemic,” Becker College said in a statement. “We have been undergoing a thoughtful process of evaluating the impact of these forces on our College and considering every option.”

Under a Massachusetts law enacted in 2019, institutes of higher education must immediately notify if they know they are at risk of closing imminently or have liabilities that could affect their ability to fulfill obligations to current and admitted students. The law was passed following the sudden closure of Mount Ida College in 2018.

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The New England Commission of Higher Education said it is in regular contact with Becker leadership and ready to help if needed.

“As the Becker College Board of Trustees considers options for the future of the institution, 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 of Higher Education said.


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