Following Trocaire College’s failed acquisition of its neighboring Buffalo private school, Medaille University is closing its doors.
Facing dwindling enrollment numbers and “outstanding liabilities,” Medaille is left with an inoperable budget, according to a statement issued by interim President Lori V. Quigley.
Trocaire College and Medaille University leadership did not comment on why the acquisition fell through, citing confidentiality agreements. Trocaire College President Bassam Deeb mentioned higher education’s “extreme” challenges for the two colleges’ split, such as wavering student interest and demographic changes affecting the nation.
However, one county official in Buffalo is sounding the alarm for Western New York specifically. With a dwindling student population, other regional schools are not too far from sharing Medaille’s fate. “There is a smaller piece of the pie for everyone” when the number of college-age students decreases while the number of institutions remains the same, said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, according to 2 On Your Side.
Following Quiqley’s announcement, five schools have since announced teach-out agreements to allow Medaille’s students to finish their academic programs. Daemen University, Canisius College, Alfred University, Niagara University and Villa Maria College are among them. The latter will assign an individual transfer counselor to each Medaille student to best align them with one of Villa Maria’s 19 academic programs.
“This situation is understandably upsetting, and it’s probably not something any of these students thought they’d have to work through,” said Villa Maria President Dr. Matthew Giordano, according to WIVB 4. “Villa is ready to welcome all incoming and undergraduate students who want to complete their degrees, and we’ll work with them to facilitate their transition.”
Medaille will be implementing placement and referral services for its faculty to allow them to continue their careers.
Medaille’s closure follows another private school fatally impacted by the pandemic. Enrollment in the past 10 years has dropped by almost 50%, from 2,600 students in fall 2012 to around 1,600 in the last academic year, according to The Buffalo News.
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