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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

New Hampshire junior college in Lebanon shuts down abruptly

LEBANON – Tiny Lebanon College, located in a mall in this Upper Valley town, has shut down due to financial problems, adding to the small but growing list of New Hampshire colleges facing financial issues.

On Monday, Aug. 18, the junior college’s website at www.lebanoncollege.edu/ was replaced with a statement that it had to “minimize operations and cancel all fall 2014 classes.” ...

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LEBANON – Tiny Lebanon College, located in a mall in this Upper Valley town, has shut down due to financial problems, adding to the small but growing list of New Hampshire colleges facing financial issues.

On Monday, Aug. 18, the junior college’s website at www.lebanoncollege.edu/ was replaced with a statement that it had to “minimize operations and cancel all fall 2014 classes.”

A follow-up article in the Valley News newspaper reported that the school, founded in 1956, had a shortfall in enrollment and succumbed to $2.2 million in debt. The paper said the junior college, which had an enrollment of less than 350, has struggled with money problems for years, “compounded by the purchase of the 5,100-square-foot former Shoetorium space in the Lebanon Mall in 2008 for $725,000.”

The school’s closing follows layoffs of teaching staff at New Hampshire Technical Institute, Concord’s community college, the dropping of several degree programs from Franklin Pierce University in Rindge and the closing of the Nashua campus of White Mountain College – all indications of the pressures facing colleges that depend heavily on year-to-year tuition income, rather than an endowment.

Chester College in the town of Chester closed in 2012 due to such pressure.

The number of graduating seniors through new England is declining, and online education is beginning to pose competition.

The most obvious case of a New Hampshire college that is growing is Southern New Hampshire University, which depends heavily on its nationally known online degrees.

– DAVID BROOKS