Campus Operations

Becker College to Close at End of Academic Year

Becker College, a small private college with campuses in Worcester and Leicester, Mass., announced on Monday that it will shut down at the end of the academic year. The college’s permanent closure is due to financial difficulties exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is with deep regret that I share the news that on March 28, the Board of Trustees voted to permanently close Becker College at the end of the current academic year,” wrote Christine Cassidy, chairwoman of the Board of Trustees, in a post on the school’s website. “The College will provide academic support and transitional services to students through August 31, 2021. Following an orderly transition, classes will not resume in the fall.”

Becker has a student population of about 1,500, and it traces its roots back to the founding of Leicester Academy in 1784. The college is currently best known for its game design program, which Princeton Review ranked #2 in the world in 2020. The nearby Clark University, also in Worcester, has announced that it will absorb the program and its various academic concentrations into the new Becker School of Design & Technology at Clark University.

Becker College has reached out to 18 New England colleges to transfer its students. According to Boston.com, some of these colleges will accept all former Becker students in good standing, and others will offer acceptance for specific programs. Likewise, students who were accepted into Becker for the fall 2021 semester will receive their tuition deposits back, and school officials have committed to working with those students on “potential admissions pathways” to other schools.

Becker College has set up a website with information related to the closure to keep the school’s larger community informed. According to an FAQ page, the decision to close the school was based on “the impact of COVID-19, declining enrollment, rising costs, and an insufficient endowment.” The Board of Trustees attempted restructuring academic schools and programs, selling or declining to renew the lease on college-owned buildings, reducing staff and compensation, and pursuing a partnership with a nonprofit educational institution before ultimately deciding to close its doors.

“Closing the College is not the path we wanted to pursue,” said Cassidy. “It is sad at every level. We have sufficient resources to complete this academic year, but not beyond that in a way that is fiscally responsible and in the best interest of students.”

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].

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