BY COLE McNANNA // May 3, 2018
Since Mount Ida College in Newton announced its impending closure last month, Curry College has been one of the leading schools aiding students in finding a new home.
Mount Ida President Barry Brown informed faculty, staff, and students via email in early April that the school will be absorbed by UMass Amherst. Mount Ida students would be granted admission to UMass Dartmouth, located in the southern tip of the state, approximately 60 miles from Newton and Boston.
Mount Ida previously explored merging with Lasell College, also in Newton, both the parties couldn’t come to an agreement. In the end, Mount Ida’s board of trustees decided that the last best option was shuttering the financially strapped college altogether.
“We were getting emails almost every day about what was happening…they were taking us step-by-step with it,” said Mount Ida sophomore Melissa Gilson, an Early Education major, about the potential merging with Lasell. “Then we got an email saying [the merger] wasn’t happening and then two weeks later it’s, ‘School’s closing now; sorry we got bought out.’”
Curry senior staff members and various academic departments quickly jumped into action. With more than 1,000 Mount Ida undergraduates needing a new college to attend, this posed an opportunity for Curry to good by those students while at the same time to do well financially through an influx of additional tuition and room and board.
Michael Bosco, assistant vice president of academic affairs at Curry College, who worked in Mount Ida’s Enrollment Management department from 2005-2010, led a team at Curry that included Financial Services as well as Admissions.
“We got faculty department chairs engaged in looking at how our curriculum and the Mount Ida curriculum align and where there could be some synergy between programs,” said Bosco. “Mount Ida had some specialized programs that we don’t offer here, and then we have some programs that are very similar.”
As an example, he noted the Psychology curriculum between the two colleges varied slightly, but “the department figured out how to make it work for students.”
“There’s a course here that is almost equivalent to the course they offered, so we’ve developed a portfolio assignment which allows students to demonstrate the proficiencies to meet that course.”
To date, more than 150 Mount Ida students have applied to transfer to Curry College, one of many areas schools that have courted the newly displaced undergraduates. A certain percentage of those students will be accepted, and a smaller percentage will actually enroll.
“I can’t predict what the yield will be on that yet,” said Bosco. “The goal is to help these students land on their feet. They’ve sort of had the rug pulled out from under them.”
He also noted that with most schools accepting applications throughout the summer, there isn’t a hard-and-fast deadline that students need to meet. However, “we’d like to see as many students committed by June 1 so we know how to proceed throughout the summer and what adjustments we may need to make in order to facilitate the students properly.”
Not only has the Admission Department stepped up to provide expedited review of applications, financial aid packages, and transfer credit review, but the Athletic Department has been busy recruiting prospective transfers.
“We didn’t want to feel like we were being vultures because we heard a lot of stories about schools that went in there just trying to pick away at people,” said Curry Athletic Director Vinnie Eruzione. “We didn’t do it that way. We had a nice conversation and asked them, ‘How can we help out? What can we do to service your students and, more specifically, your student-athletes?’”
Eruzione has a list of Mount Ida student-athletes, taking up more than two pages, who have applied or been on a tour of Curry since news of the school’s closure broke.