By Shawn Ness | December 4, 2023
College of Saint Rose’s business building.
Photo Credit: Discover Albany
The College of Saint Rose, a staple of the Downtown Albany community for the last 103 years, is closing its doors after the conclusion of the Spring 2024 semester after the Board of Trustees voted to “cease academic instruction,” according to a statement from Saint Rose President Marcia White.
“The closure of Saint Rose is truly heartbreaking for all of us who care deeply about the history and legacy of this institution and the extraordinary legacy of the students we serve and have served for 103 years,” the press release reads.
The college has 2,700 students enrolled and 500 - 600 employees, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Saint Rose said it will try and assist students to graduate in May or to assist in the transfer process. There is a formal institutional teach-out plan, which is required by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and the NYS Education Department, according to the press release. The plan would enable the college to close and proceed in an “orderly manner” to minimize harm to the Saint Rose community.
According to a FAQ page recently updated by Saint Rose, The Board and College leadership attempted to eliminate high-cost programs, faculty layoffs, lower contributions to pensions, salary cuts, and debt refinancing. “Those efforts were unable to offset the ongoing deficit,” Board of Trustees Chair Jeffrey Stone said. The school is operating under a projected cash deficit of $11.3 million.
“We are heartbroken to have to share this devastating news with the students and our community,” White said at an address to the campus community. “The Trustees and I are profoundly grateful to the college’s faculty and staff who have remained committed to Saint Rose and have dedicated their lives to fulfilling its mission.”
New York State Senator Neil Breslin from Troy, Assemblymembers Patricia Fahy (Albany), and John McDonald III (Albany and Troy) released a joint statement on the closure. “Beyond its academic mission, The College of Saint Rose has been a key economic driver in the Capital Region, supporting more than 1,000 jobs, our local businesses, and generating significant economic activity within the City of Albany and Capital Region,” the statement reads. “We recognize the personal pain that this evokes for many graduates, students, and faculty. We have worked with Saint Rose to find solutions as soon as they engaged with us and unfortunately, any possible avenues to keep the College open have been exhausted despite our best efforts.”
The Capital Region Delegation is committed to working to preserve Saint Rose’s flagship academic programs by having them be acquired by other colleges in the area.
The University at Albany also issued a statement on the closure of its cross-town rival. “Today is a very difficult and tragic day for anyone who cares deeply about our city and higher education. The College of Saint Rose has been a cherished part of the Capital Region’s educational and cultural landscape for more than a century, and its closure should do nothing to diminish that proud legacy.”
UAlbany’s statement notes that the administration is committed to Albany and “midtown especially” and will work closely with the midtown partners, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, SUNY, and local state representatives.
About 80% of Saint Rose’s students are New York natives, one-third of them are first-generation college students, and nearly 40% come from low-income families. And over 40% of the students are students of color and two-thirds of them are women.
“This closure does not diminish the incredible impact that the College’s 50,000 alumni have had on the world, and in particular, this area of New York state. They are changing lives in education, health care, the law, social work, and in public service – as well as innovating as business leaders,” White said. “We know the College’s indelible impact, mission, and legacy will live on through the contributions of each member of the Saint Rose community, past and present.”