April 30, 2018

Atlantic Union College submits closure plan

Photo | File
Atlantic Union College's campus in Lancaster has gone underused since the school lost accredidation in 2011.

Atlantic Union College in Lancaster, which announced in February its plans to close after the spring semester, has submitted a closure plan to the state, according to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education.

The plan, however, is still in draft form and therefore is not a public document.

The college's board of trustees and a committee of the Atlantic Union Conference, an affiliated supporter of the college, voted in February to stop offering bachelor's degrees after the semester ends, they said in a statement. Certificate programs will end no later than December.

The college did not respond to a request for comment on the closure plan, but the Telegram & Gazette reported the draft plan submitted to the Department of Higher Education indicates that just 35 students are enrolled at the college.

Atlantic Union told the WBJ last year that the college's students number fewer than 50.

The plan includes transfer agreements with other Seventh-day Adventists colleges, the Telegram reported.

The decision to close was the result of a feasibility study of the college's operations, the trustees and the conference said in a joint statement in February.

"The board of trustees, in cooperation with the Atlantic Union Conference administration, will form a plan to guide the students, faculty and staff through this transition period," the two bodies said. "This plan will provide academic options and information to the students, faculty, staff and larger Atlantic Union College family."

Atlantic Union's planned closure follows a decision to withdraw financial support for the college by a major source of funding, the Southern New England Conference. The conference, part of the Seventh-day Adventist Church with which Atlantic Union is affiliated, decided last year it would instead spend the $800,000 it traditionally gave Atlantic Union to financially help for college-age members of the church.

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