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Urban College receives enough donations to remain open in fall, officials say

Posted by Johanna Kaiser  July 30, 2012 01:09 PM

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The Urban College of Boston will open for the fall semester, school officials announced Monday, assuaging fears that the two-year school for low-income and immigrant women would close amid financial difficulties.

School officials announced Monday that the institution, located in the Action for Boston Community Development, Inc. on Tremont Street, would continue operating as an accredited institution as it secures the $250,000 needed to close its budget deficit and develops a long term plan for financial sustainability.

"We're going to open this fall, and plan on opening the fall after that, and the fall after that. The Urban College of Boston is not going away," Peter Ebb, chairman of Urban College's board of trustees, said, drawing cheers from about 70 supporters, students, and teachers at a rally at the school Monday morning.

Urban College announced earlier this month that fall classes for its 600 students could be canceled after a proposed merger with Endicott College, a four-year private school in Beverly, fell through.

Urban College, which opened in 1993 to offer low-cost classes to adults, came under financial pressure when Congress chose not to reauthorize its $700,000 subsidy last year--cutting the college's $2.5 million budget by more than 25 percent.

In June, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, an accrediting group, expressed concerns about the school’s financial situation and urged it not to admit a new class of students.

Since then, the school has received enough donations and pledges from private individuals and institutions to narrow this year's shortfall, officials said.

"What were really working on right now is getting to where we are to where we want to be," Ebb said.

The donations will allow the school to operate as it develops a new self-sufficient financial plan that includes expanding the course offerings and working with institutional donors.

"We know that our business plan has to be based on more than [private donations]," Ebb said.

The school's supporters, while pleased the school would continue operating, also remained focused on the work needed going forward to support the school and the vulnerable community it serves.

"It is a reminder that for those things that we value, we have to have a sustainable effort in preserving and protecting them," said City Councilor Ayanna Pressley. "Now we have to make sure we keep everyone's attention focused on this institution moving forward."
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E-mail Johanna Kaiser at johanna.yourtown@gmail.com

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