- The King’s College, a Christian liberal arts institution in New York City, will soon have its accreditation yanked in part because it has failed to demonstrate it can sustain itself and is now “in imminent danger of closing,” its accreditor announced last week.
- The Middle States Commission on Higher Education, or MSCHE, attributed the decision to the college’s failure to show it could comply with the accrediting agency’s standards. MSCHE said the college’s final date of accreditation will be determined based on a report due June 2 from the institution.
- King’s College can appeal MSCHE’s decision to withdraw accreditation, according to Friday’s notice. But MSCHE said new conditions are in effect that bar the college from enrolling or recruiting new students, require it to post a “clear and accurate statement” about its accreditation status on its website, and require it to implement an approved teach-out plan.
This isn’t the first time King’s College’s existence has been threatened. The roughly 85-year-old college, originally located in New Jersey, closed in 1994 due to financial issues. But it reopened five years later in New York City after being gifted the assets of another Christian college that had shuttered.
For the past two decades, the small college has relied heavily on donations to support its budget. But that revenue source shrunk after the deaths of major donors, including Richard and Helen DeVos, in-laws to former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, The New York Times reported.
Enrollment has also cratered. The college reported enrollment of only 384 students in fall 2021, down 30.8% from 555 students in fall 2017.
At the beginning of May, King’s College’s board members set the end of the month as a deadline to raise as much as $12 million in an attempt to stay open through the next academic year, according to the Empire State Tribune, an independent student newspaper at the college. The publication said the college would decide Wednesday whether to continue operating.
The institution also recently cut ties with Primacorp Ventures, an investment management company that the college enlisted to build online programming and help recruit students, Inside Higher Ed reported. Critics of the partnership said its goals were unrealistic and contributed to the college's troubles.
King’s College is among several Christian colleges that have financially struggled since the pandemic.
Cardinal Stritch University, a Catholic institution in Wisconsin, announced its closure in April, citing enrollment, operational and pandemic-related challenges. Iowa Wesleyan University, which was affiliated with the United Methodist Church, made a similar announcement in March.
Neither King’s College, MSCHE nor Primacorp Ventures immediately responded to a request for comment Tuesday.