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greenmountaincollege Green Mountain College

Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vt., says it is closing after 185 years

The school, which focuses on environmental studies, cites financial pressures exacerbated by declining enrollment.

Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vt., has announced that it will close after the end of the spring semester.

The Boston Globe reports that trustees of the school made the decision after an 18-month effort to find a way to keep operating. 

The school cited financial pressure stemming from declining enrollment brought about by the overall decline in college-age students across New England.

College President Robert W. Allen said in a statement:

"The decision to close Green Mountain College comes only after a tireless pursuit of multiple options to remain open, including the rigorous search for new partnerships and reorganization of our finances. Despite our noteworthy accomplishments related to social and environmental sustainability, we have not been able to assure the economic sustainability of the College."

Officials at the college, which specializes in environmental studies, say they were unable to collect enough tuition to fund the rising cost of providing degrees. Small liberal arts colleges face increasing financial pressure as the college-age population shrinks and families are increasingly unable, or unwilling, to pay high tuitions.

Schools try to compete for students by offering scholarships, but with small endowments, they depend on tuition to stay in business.

Green Mountain announced that it has an agreement with Prescott College in Prescott, Ariz., which also specializes in the environment.

Prescott will hire some Green Mountain faculty, maintain student records, and enable students to complete their degrees there. It will also create a center that carries on the Green Mountain name.

Green Mountain has about 450 undergraduates, 250 graduate students, and 40 full-time faculty. Its endowment is $3.6 million. Tuition is $35,600, and room and board is another $12,000, plus $1,750 in fees.

The school was founded in 1833 as part of the Methodist Church and for many years was a junior college for women. In 1975, it began offering four-year bachelor’s degrees and became coeducational. In 1995, it adopted a focus on environmental studies.

The campus sits on 155 acres between the Adirondacks and the Green Mountains. It has a farm, hiking trails, and a swimming hole. The school prides itself on its sustainable practices, has a recycling crew, and composts the dining hall waste.

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