The College of Saint Rose, a century-old Roman Catholic College in Albany, New York, will close in May 2024 after years of financial struggles, college officials announced Friday.
“It is with a heavy heart that the Board decided to close the college at the end of this academic year,” Jeffrey D. Stone, chair of the college’s board of trustees, which voted to close the school on Thursday, said in a statement. “The Board determined that the College does not have the financial resources to operate for the full 2024-2025 academic year and therefore cannot remain a standalone institution.”
Stone added, “We are devastated that despite all our efforts we were unable to avoid closure. Our goal now is to ease the transition for our students, faculty, and staff.”
The college will help students either graduate in May or continue their studies elsewhere, officials said, and the human resources department will assist faculty, administrators and staff in their job search.
The College of Saint Rose was founded in 1920 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet as a women’s college. It became fully co-educational in 1969.
The school has offered a range of liberal arts programs while specializing in training teachers, with undergraduate and graduate degrees in fields such as early childhood education, educational leadership and school psychology.
Notable alumni include “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon, who also served as the 2009 commencement speaker.
The announcement of the college’s closing happened on the same day that its women’s soccer team failed to advance in the NCAA Division II East regional final in West Chester, Pennsylvania. The team tied Adelphi 1-1, then lost a penalty-kick shootout to determine which team would reach the national quarterfinals.
Like many liberal arts colleges, Saint Rose struggled to maintain its enrollment and balance its books in recent years, and its woes were exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
The college has about 2,600 current students, down from 4,000 in 2019, the last year before the pandemic hit. Saint Rose axed more than a dozen academic programs in 2021 to save money but failed to achieve solvency.
College President Marcia White said that in addition to cutting academic programs, the college laid off staff, reduced salaries and pension contributions, sold nonessential buildings and refinanced debt.
Those efforts were unable to offset the ongoing deficit, White told the campus community at a gathering on Friday. She said the projected operating cash deficit for this year is $11.3 million.
“We want to extend our sympathy and concern to the students, faculty, staff, and alumni of The College of Saint Rose. We all hoped that this day would not come,” Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan and Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy said in a statement after the decision to close the school was reported Thursday,
Sheehan and McCoy said they would work together with college officials, developers and government leaders to “reimagine” the college’s 46-acre campus in the Pine Hills neighborhood of Albany, the capital of New York state.
Havidán Rodríguez, the president of the University at Albany, part of the public State University of New York system, said the news “reminds us of the tenuous situation for many institutions of higher education across the country following the impacts of COVID-19 and the demographic shifts that we are confronting, especially in our region.”