June 18th, 2024

Vermont’s Goddard College to close after years of declining enrollment and financial struggles

By The Associated Press on April 10, 2024.

PLAINFIELD, Vt. (AP) – Vermont’s Goddard College, a small school known for its progressive education, is closing after years of declining enrollment and financial struggles, the board of trustees announced.

The decision to close at the end of the semester was heart-wrenching but unavoidable as the school, created in 1938, faces financial insolvency, the board said in a statement Tuesday.

Goddard currently has 220 students, compared with more than 1,900 in the early 1970s, the board said.

“The closure of Goddard College is a significant loss for students in search of an alternative, progressive higher education,” board chair Mark Jones said in a statement. “The decision to close Goddard College was not made easily or quickly. With declining enrollment and financial insolvency looming, the Board was left with no other option. Our hearts are broken.”

Boards and administrations have tried for decades to find ways to keep Goddard sustainable, but it couldn’t beat the inflationary pressures, demographic changes and shifts in educational preferences that it and other colleges have faced, the board said. Schools have grappled with a shift toward more career-oriented training and a decline in the number of college-age students.

Among Goddard alumni are actor William H. Macy, playwright David Mamet, jailed activist and cause celebre Mumia Abu-Jamal, and some members of the rock band Phish.

Goddard students will have the chance to continue their education at the same tuition rate through Prescott College in Arizona, the board said. Other partner institutions may be announced in the near future. A scholarship fund will be created to help the students transition, Goddard officials said.

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