Accrediting Organization Puts Burlington College On Probation

Jul 7, 2014

The organization that accredits colleges and universities in New England has put Burlington College on probation status “for up to two years” because of financial issues, according to a release from the college.

The college is one of the smallest in the country with an undergraduate population of 224. It remains accredited during the probation period, the release said.

The action by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges comes as Burlington College plans to significantly expand its North Avenue campus to include a number of housing units and new academic buildings.

The probation, according to a statement from college president Christine Plunkett, is not a surprise:

[T]he NEASC decision to place us on probationary status formalizes what we have been saying publicly for several years. We knew in purchasing this campus there would be a time of financial challenge as the college grows.  Burlington College is a very small, young institution, without a significant endowment or large fundraising base to contribute to our operating budget. We are fortunate to have a very engaged and supportive Board of Trustees that has approved a solid financial plan to meet our goals, and we have already made progress in the short time we’ve been on our new campus.

The college has two years to correct the problems that led to the NEASC concerns, which hinge on financial stability.

According to the release, "[t]he college had submitted a report outlining plans to reduce its property debt, increase enrollment, and steadily improve its financial operating stability. During the two-year probationary period, the college will make frequent reports to NEASC on its progress to meet the benchmarks identified in its financial plan."