Local College to Lose Academic Accreditation; Faces Funding Deadline and ‘Imminent Danger of Closing’
Kings College, an evangelical Christian institution of higher learning located at 56 Broadway, is set to lose its academic accreditation today. On May 26, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) announced that it had taken “immediate adverse action to withdraw accreditation from the King’s College. The final date that accreditation will cease is to be determined based on the supplemental information report due June 2, 2023.” The Commission notes that its decision is subject to appeal.
MSCHE justified the withdrawal of accreditation based on King’s College’s “failure to demonstrate the capacity to make required improvements, that it can sustain itself in the short or long term, and the institution being in imminent danger of closing.”
The Commission also approved a “teach-out plan,” which is a program to ensure that students of a college or university facing closure will be able to finish their studies at another school. MSCHE has approved four other universities as successors to King’s College, with Houghton University (located in upstate New York) designated as “the final repository of all the King’s College student records.”
King’s College has been fighting for its life this year. In January, the school announced that it needed to raise $2.6 million to fund “immediate needs.” By the February 15 deadline, donors had contributed less than ten percent of that amount. In March, administrators announced that the school was likely to close permanently at the end of the spring term.
According to the Empire State Tribune, an independent student newspaper at King’s College, the school’s board of trustees announced in an email on May 4 that “the Board has selected May 31, 2023, as a deadline to raise sufficient funds in order to continue operations through the 2023-2024 academic year. Based on recent budgetary needs, that amount could be as great as $12 million.” The same email said King College planned to decide by May 31 “whether to continue operations for the 2023-2024 academic year.”
No announcement about the success or failure of the fundraising drive has been issued, and a spokesman for King’s College did not respond to a request for comment. A page on the school’s website for prospective students says, “the King’s College is not currently accepting applications… for the upcoming school year.” But another page on the same website claims, “because no decision has been made to close the College, we are accepting applications for the fall semester.”
The school’s website notes, “we are also in ongoing conversations with other educational institutions about potential partnerships that could help to ensure the long-term viability of King’s.” The online newsletter Inside Higher Ed cites a King’s College source as saying that the school has been seeking “a strategic alliance with a number of educational institutions,” and is “currently in advanced discussions with another Christian university regarding an educational and operational partnership in order to remain open in New York City for the 2023-2024 academic year and beyond.” The school’s administration is now promising an update by June 16, 2023.