An unnatural partnership saves a small private New Jersey college 153 years old from closing its doors – thanks to a nearby public university.
Even before the Pandemic, Bloomfield College had been struggling for years due to declining enrollment and rising costs. Located in the heart of the community, the small campus is the state’s four – year, mainly black institution – for the 1,300 students who study there, that small size matters.
“They always make sure your grades are good and you are mentally and physically fit. There is always a lot of support here on campus, “said Bianca Gomez, a junior in business marketing.
The majority of the students at the school are black and Hispanic children, with an average family income of $ 32,000. The school ran out of money, and this was the end of last year.
The president of the college requested help, and it came just ten minutes away – Montclair State University offered a cash infusion to keep it going.
“We are both institutions that serve people who do not have a smooth path to college graduation,” said Dr. Montclair State University President. Jonathan Koppel said. “We’m not going to sit here and see a sister institution.
Shortly after the president of Bloomfield went public six months ago with financial difficulties, they received more than 30 inquiries from colleges and universities across the country. But when Montclair State reached out, there was no question that they would take it.
“The goal is to create this window to bring us a bigger partnership,” said Bloomfield College President Dr. Marchetta Evans said. “Getting a degree changes not only that student’s life, but also the family system, so working with the new model will transform not only students and Bloomfield, but the state of New Jersey as well.
Officials do not yet know exactly what that model will look like, as it is the first step in a journey that has not yet taken place.
“We do not want to do the same thing that others do with their merger,” he said. Evans said. “How can we transform a model for higher education – working to improve our graduation rate. Retention rate, but then transforming our student life.”
Bloomfield College is under threat of closure due to low enrollment rates, and students and administrators are trying to keep its doors open. NBC New York’s Bat Bat reports.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has allocated $ 5 million from the state budget to support the mission.
“They support it with the same prejudice: do not invest good money after bad, but actually create this opportunity for Bloomfield and MSU to collaborate,” Drs. Koppel said.
In doing so, it also creates an opportunity for Gomez to graduate from the school that led her to success.
“This is my campus, I could not see it going anywhere else, and it makes me so happy to know that I can graduate from here,” Gomez said. “It’s amazing that they will be here for future generations.”