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Two colleges in Massachusetts are looking to merge

Lassel College and Mount Ida College—both in Newton, Mass.—say a combined institution would provide a more robust learning experience.

Two private colleges in Newton, Mass., say they are looking at a possible merger.

Lasell College and Mount Ida College announced the potential merger in a letter co-written by the school's presidents.

"Both colleges understand that it has never been more important to plan for the long-term future," the letter from Lasell President Michael Alexander and Mount Ida President Barry Brown states.

"The goal of a union would be to create a more robust learning experience that would take advantage of distinctiveness of the programs, curricula and experiences of each institution. Under the potential merger, we would have the opportunity to add academic depth to our traditions of small classes and faculty mentorship, while maintaining the benefits of a high-quality independent education."

Mount Ida has about 1,550 students, and Lasell has about 2,000 students, according to the schools' web sites. The campuses are about six miles apart.

The schools say the prospect of pooling resources and a shared commitment to controlling the cost of tuition will give students of all income levels a better educational experience.

A committee will begin exploring the elements of a merger, and the colleges hope that an agreement to move forward will be signed within a few months. If a merger does not come to fruition, the schools will continue to shared certain initiatives and resources, such as campus safety staff.

Officials say that if the merger goes through, each college’s academic offerings will potentially expand, and teaching faculty and practitioners will be more available to a wider audience of students.

The Boston Globe reports that Mount Ida and Lasell colleges were both founded in the 1800s as two-year schools for women, and they have both evolved into coeducational four-year schools whose tuition is about $35,000 per year, plus about $14,000 for room and board.

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