In the latest blow to Westchester County’s secondary education sector, Berkeley College announced that it will close its White Plains campus by the start of its fall 2021 semester.
Citing financial and logistical difficulties brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the college will continue operations through this summer, after which programs and classes will be consolidated into the school’s New York City campus.
Opened in 1945, the White Plains Berkeley campus offered seven different majors from its schools of Business, Criminal Justice, Health, and Professional Studies. Even before the pandemic, the college’s online bachelor’s program was ranked one of the best for eight consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report.
“The challenges brought on by the pandemic and other factors were the impetus for the consolidation of the campus with our New York City campus,” says President of Berkeley College Michael J. Smith. “We are grateful for the support so many of the governing officials, business leaders, and community organizations have shown us over the years,” adding, “Berkeley College remains committed to serving the residents and businesses of Westchester County through our New York City campus.”
Since the onset of the pandemic, Smith says, Berkeley College has noted declining enrollment mixed with an increase in remote and hybrid learning, leading to a lessening need for more physical classroom space.
“One centralized campus in Midtown Manhattan will best position the College to serve our students,” he says.
Over the next year, the college also plans to consolidate its two Manhattan buildings at 43rd and 41st streets into the single 41st Street facility. The current summer term in White Plains will continue uninterrupted.
All existing students of the White Plains campus will have the option of transferring to the Manhattan campus with all of their credits or receive a free transcript if they choose to transfer to another school. Students who have already submitted application of residence feeds for the fall 2021 semester can receive reimbursement. Students currently in campus housing must vacate by August 15, 2021 and can make alternate arrangements after that deadline through the school. Berkeley College is providing additional details in an online FAQ.
The closure marks the third time in as many years a long-seated institution of higher learning has closed up shop in Westchester County. In 2019, the College of New Rochelle folded in very public scandal after years of financial mismanagement were uncovered, with most students—as well as faculty and some school buildings—transferring to nearby Mercy College. This January, Bronxville’s Concordia College, a Lutheran college founded in 1881, similarly announced it would cease classes beginning with the fall 2021 term.