RENSSELAER — A long-running pool of debt, the risk of losing accreditation and increased pressure from auditors that could've affected student loans led to the decision to suspend operations at Saint Joseph's College, a school official said Monday.
After announcing Friday evening that the private college would temporarily suspend all activities on campus for at least the 2017-18 academic year, Saint Joseph's Board of Trustees Chairman Benedict Sponseller on Monday addressed and fielded questions from a tense crowd of faculty and staff who filled the Shen Auditorium.
Sponseller provided the group with a breakdown of why the board voted to suspend operations at the 125-year-old Catholic school.
"The combination of cash-flow difficulty, the threat of losing our accreditation and the real possibility of students not being able to get loans — those are the primary things that led us to suspend our operations in hopes of rising again as a new Saint Joseph's College," he said.
The college has been operating on a deficit of $4 million to $5 million each year, year after year, he said, and has exhausted all of its credit.
In November, the Higher Learning Commission placed the college on probation until 2018 because it wasn't in compliance with its accreditation criteria, citing "concerns related to resources, planning and institutional effectiveness; quality, resources and support of teaching and learning; as well as evaluation and improvement of teaching and learning," according to a public disclosure notice.