Burlington College announced its shutdown on Monday which resulted from a crushing debt incurred by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ wife, Jane Sanders. The college, once run by Sanders, will shut down on May 27 because it is unable to recover from its debt.
The college was on probation with its accreditor New England Association of Schools and Colleges and was running under a debt of millions of dollars to a real estate deal struck by Sanders. The college’s line of credit was cut off, owing to Sanders’ decision to invest in a 32 acres of lakefront property which is worth millions of dollars, the Vanity Fair reported.
The decision to invest in the property was driven by a desire to improve and expand the college’s campus. Sanders believed that a bigger and better college campus would increase the alumni donations and the number of students admitted to the Burlington College each year would help repay the loan.
However, the plan failed and when Sanders resigned in 2011, the problem was passed onto her successors. By then, the school had sold the land and was already buried under a deep debt of US$11.4 million (AU$15.64 million) even though the tuition fees were increased over the past several years for the expansion.
“We have explored multiple, multiple options,” the Politico quoted college president Carol Moore as saying on Monday. “This is a great loss to the higher-ed community, so we did explore many other options. But in the final analysis, none of them came through.”
According to a press release issued by the Burlington College on Monday, the debts were “insurmountable” at the moment.
“We anticipate notice from [the regional accreditation agency] that we have not met the Commission’s financial standard, and, therefore, our accreditation will be lifted as of January 2017, and the College will not be able to award academic credit after this time,” read the press release as quoted by the Heat Street.