Hebrew College to Relocate its Campus

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Newton Centre, Massachusetts based Hebrew College will be selling its campus in a bid to satisfy creditors and start anew. The Jewish educational institution, founded in 1921, has occupied its current facility since 2001. Administrators decided to put its modern campus on the market to eliminate $32.1 million in debt, as reported by The Boston Globe.[1]

Financial Strain

The modern campus of Hebrew College.

The college has no equity in its building and mortgage and maintenance payments have far exceeded the school’s fundraising abilities. Hebrew College has cut its budget in half in recent years to weather the current financial crisis, but has not been able to get its expenses under control.

Once the campus has been sold, Hebrew College plans to rent space at nearby Andover New Theological School and begin to retire its debt. Rabbi Daniel L. Lehmann, president of the college, noted that the college is about learning and not about a building. That modern building, designed by famed Jewish architect Moshe Safdie, has its mortgage guaranteed by Combined Jewish Philanthropies, an important supporter of Hebrew College.

Shrunken Endowments

Colleges and universities across the United States have been shaken by the financial turndown that began in late 2007 and plunged the country, indeed the entire world, into a deep recession in late 2008 and well into 2009. Once hefty Ivy League endowments have shrunk by billions of dollars, schools have cut back on classes and increased class size, and some have shut down programs or closed their doors for good.

Dana College, in Blair, Nebraska, shut its doors following an accreditation body’s refusal to reaccredit the school once its proposed sale to out-of-state investors was completed. Dana had been struggling financially for years and found buyers who wanted to run the school as a for-profit venture. The accrediting body rejected Dana’s plans, forcing the 126-year-old school to close down last summer.[2]

Cooperative Programs

Some schools are surviving by merging with other institutions or sharing programs. Hebrew College will remain independent, but it does cooperate with other universities including Boston’s Northeastern University to offer a Doctor of Education in Jewish Education Leadership.

Hebrew College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

References

[1] The Boston Globe: Hebrew College to Sell Campus

[2] Omaha World-Herald: Dana College Closes Doors

Public domain photo from Wikipedia.

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