Mount Ida College Reaches Agreement with UMass Regarding Educational Continuity for Students with Acquisition of its Campus

All Mount Ida students in good standing offered automatic admission at UMass Dartmouth; UMass Amherst to acquire the physical assets of the Mount Ida campus for academic, career preparation and economic development programming
Carlton Hall, Mount Ida College (photo courtesy South Coast Improvement Co.)
Carlton Hall, Mount Ida College (photo courtesy South Coast Improvement Co.)

NEWTON, Mass. – Mount Ida College today announced that it has reached a definitive agreement in principle with the University of Massachusetts that will provide a pathway for its students to complete their degree studies and ensure that its campus remains dedicated to an educational mission.

Mount Ida students in good standing will be offered automatic admission to UMass Dartmouth with a clear path to degree completion. UMass Dartmouth will also facilitate expedited transfer admission opportunities at the Boston, Lowell and Amherst campuses for Mount Ida students.

Separately, UMass Amherst will acquire the physical assets of the 74-acre Mount Ida campus in Newton, Mass., where it will establish Greater Boston-based career preparation programs for UMass Amherst students in high-demand fields that serve the Massachusetts innovation economy.

Mount Ida President Barry Brown said, “The challenges for small colleges in the current economic and demographic landscape are significant. Working with UMass, we have devised a way forward that ensures the well-being of our students, enhances the academic capacity of the region, and preserve’s Mount Ida’s legacy and history.”

Mount Ida College had explored a merger with Lasell College, but discussions ceased when the boards could not reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

UMass Dartmouth has the academic and residential capacity to accommodate Mount Ida students as well as a campus setting and breadth of academic program offerings that will allow for a smooth transition and clear degree pathways. Mount Ida College has approximately 1,450 undergraduate students.

“We are fully prepared to offer Mount Ida students the private college educational experience they are accustomed to at a public university value,” said UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Robert E. Johnson, who had previously served as President of Becker College, an institution similar in size and scope to Mount Ida. “I want to assure Mount Ida students and their families that our students, faculty and staff stand ready with open arms to welcome them to our 710-acre, coastal academic community and provide a pathway to a Tier 1 national research university degree at the same or lower cost than they had planned.”

Under a “UMassD Guarantee,” all Mount Ida students will receive lower tuition charges and incur less debt. Mount Ida students will also receive expedited admissions to UMass Dartmouth with a path to degree completion, on-campus housing options at standard room and board rates, Mount Ida living/learning communities, personalized academic advising, interviews for student athletes with UMass Dartmouth’s Division III NCAA coaches, and other services to assure a seamless transition to the university.

UMass Dartmouth offers an array of professional and liberal arts degree programs, and has experience in welcoming students from private schools. In 2010, a small private law school donated its assets to UMass Dartmouth to create the UMass School of Law, the first and only public law school in the Commonwealth. In 2016, the law school achieved full ABA accreditation, and its first-time bar pass rate now ranks above four area private law schools.

Through a real estate transaction, UMass Amherst will take ownership of the Mount Ida College’s physical assets. In doing so, UMass Amherst will preserve the character of the campus and serve as a custodian of its history and legacy.

The newly acquired campus, which will be known as the Mount Ida Campus of UMass Amherst, will operate as an extension of the Amherst campus and will not enroll undergraduate students directly. Less than ten miles from downtown Boston and adjacent to the nearby N-Squared Innovation District and the tech-focused Route 128 corridor, the campus will serve as a hub for Greater Boston-area career preparation and experiential learning opportunities for UMass Amherst students. The programs that will be offered at the newly acquired campus will align the strengths of UMass Amherst with the growing demand for talent in areas that drive the Massachusetts economy, including health care, business, computer science and other STEM specialties. Last year, for example, UMass Amherst awarded 1,700 undergraduate STEM degrees, more than any other college or university in the state. In addition, academic-industry collaborations, which currently account for a growing portion of UMass Amherst’s $220 million annual research and development expenditures, will be initiated at the Mount Ida campus.

“This is a strategic move that will expand career opportunities for our students and help drive the Massachusetts economy while strengthening the flagship campus’s position in the competitive national higher education marketplace,” said UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy. “The Mount Ida campus’s ideal location will help us grow a much- needed talent pipeline for Massachusetts businesses, especially in high-demand STEM fields. And since the flagship campus educated more Massachusetts residents last year than the top eight private universities in Massachusetts combined, we are keenly aware of our responsibility to keep Massachusetts at the forefront of innovation and discovery.”

“This agreement is consistent with the mission and strategic plans of UMass Dartmouth, UMass Amherst and the University of Massachusetts as a system,” said UMass President Marty Meehan. “But most importantly, I am pleased that we are able to offer Mount Ida an opportunity to preserve a pathway to degree completion for its students.”

“We’re proud that UMass was able to offer a solution that benefits Mount Ida students and creates opportunity for UMass students,” said UMass Board of Trustees Chair Rob Manning. “I want to thank the Mount Ida Board of Trustees, President Brown and Mount Ida’s lead banker, Dick Gavegnano of East Boston Savings Bank, for their commitment to reaching an agreement that is feasible for all parties and achieves the best possible outcome for Mount Ida.”

Mount Ida will continue classes through the spring 2018 semester, concluding with the commencement of its graduating seniors.

About Mount Ida College:

Mount Ida is a private, not-for-profit institution that blends career-relevant education with broad-based learning in the arts, sciences, and humanities to prepare its 1,450 students to succeed in a changing world. Established in 1899, the college is located in the City of Newton, giving students access to a number of civic learning and high impact internship opportunities throughout the Greater Boston area. Mount Ida emphasizes hands-on experiences within multidisciplinary, well-rounded curricula, offering students highly regarded faculty and practitioners in areas including veterinary technology, dental hygiene, forensic science, game art/animation, interior design and architecture, biology, and pre- medicine.

About the University of Massachusetts:

The University of Massachusetts is a five-campus public research university system renowned for the quality of its academic programs, the scope and excellence of its research, and its enduring adherence to its public service mission. UMass provides access to high-quality, affordable education that advances knowledge and improves the lives of the people of the Commonwealth, the nation and the world.

About UMass Dartmouth:

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, founded in 1895, is a Tier 1 National Research University set on 710-acre campus 15 minutes from the ocean and 30 minutes from Cape Cod and Providence. With nationally recognized faculty, and academic programs achieving the highest levels of accreditation, UMass Dartmouth provides a private college educational experience and public university value to its students. UMass Dartmouth students, mentored by engaged faculty and staff, contribute more than 260,000 of community service to the region every year, and graduate with the job and personal skills to succeed in a fast-changing economy and society. Academic strengths include business and entrepreneurship, animation and digital media, marine science, big data, public policy, bioengineering, and social sciences. The 50,000-strong UMass Dartmouth global alumni network includes leaders in the fields of business, government, health care, education, and science. UMass Dartmouth is home to the Commonwealth’s only public law school.

About UMass Amherst:

The University of Massachusetts Amherst, founded in 1863, is the flagship of the five- campus UMass system. Home to the Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst incorporates modern teaching methods involving new communication and information technology, yet remains an immersive, residential campus offering students a comprehensive array of academic programs. True to its land grant roots, UMass Amherst is engaged in research and creative work in all fields and is classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a doctoral university with the “highest research activity” or R1. Major areas of emphasis include climate science, food science, alternative energy, nanomanufacturing, polymer science, computer science and linguistics. Consistently rated as a “Top Producer of Fulbright Students,” UMass Amherst is ranked 29th among the nation’s top public universities by U.S. News & World Report.