WORCESTER -- Becker College, a 1,700-student school whose budgetary challenges were exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis, will close at the end of this academic year, its trustees announced Monday.

News of the closure plans comes less than a month after the Department of Higher Education issued a public notice, as required under a 2019 state law, advising that it believed Becker's financial situation was so precarious that the college was unlikely to sustain full operations through the next school year.

State higher education officials have been working with Becker, which has campuses in Worcester and Leicester, to plan for a potential closure and to develop paths for current students to continue their studies.

The higher education department said it "remains committed to working closely with Becker College to support an orderly closure process to ensure that all available resources are leveraged to support students and staff."

Becker's spring semester will continue as planned, ending with a May 8 graduation.

"We pushed ourselves to develop scenarios in which Becker remained open for another year and beyond. However, those scenarios included more debt, selling assets, and further cutting operations. Guided by the advice of our auditors and other expert consultants, we concluded that this would be irresponsible and unsustainable over time," Board of Trustees Chair Christine Cassidy said in a statement. "As devastating as closing this 237-year-old institution is, we want this closure process to be one that conveys the maximum possible respect and support for everyone whose lives and careers we know it will affect." 

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