Struggling amid a financial crisis first disclosed more than two years ago, The College of New Rochelle is consider partnering with another educational institution.The private college disclosed to bondholders in December that it is has reached a memorandum of understanding for “a potential strategic transaction” with an unnamed educational institution. The two parties have signed a nondisclosure agreement and details about the potential agreement are sparse.
“As part of our continuing exploration of options to secure the best ongoing and future educational opportunities for our students, The College of New Rochelle has been evaluating mutually beneficial partnership options,” read a statement from a college spokesperson.
The announcement to bondholders was first reported by The Journal News.
The college’s financial troubles date back to October 2016, when former college President Judith Huntington resigned after the college’s board said it found “significant unmet financial obligations” threatening the school’s survival. Later that month, college trustees announced that a probe into the school’s finances found $20 million in unpaid payroll taxes dating back to 2014, with an additional $11.2 million in debts and liabilities.
Since then, the college said it has tried to stabilize it finances while finding a sustainable path for its future.
“These efforts have included discussion of potential partnership opportunities with institutions of higher learning with the goal of securing and assuring that our students are provided the highest quality educational experiences and outcomes,” the College of New Rochelle spokesperson said.
The college has sought a partner before. It reported a previous memorandum of understanding in June 2018 for a “potential strategic transaction” with a similarly unnamed party, but the agreement was terminated by August.
The school was initially kept afloat by $5 million anonymous donation, but it also laid off about 70 employees to cut costs in 2016 and 2017. Those layoffs led to a pair of ongoing lawsuits, filed in the fall of 2017. The college also sold off properties it owned within the city.
But recent disclosures show signs of continuing financial stress. The college missed a $1.2 million bond payment in July to the New Rochelle Industrial Development Agency, paid back in December with interest. The college received a tax warrant in May by the state for more than $3 million in owed taxes, which accrues interest at 9 percent per year.
Last April, former Lehman College dean William Latimer took over as college president.