|Motto||"Start a fire."|
|Active||1972–May 27, 2016|
|President||Carol A. Moore, Ph.D.|
|Location||Burlington, Vermont, U.S.|
|Campus||32.4 acre campus in Burlington|
Burlington College was a private, non-profit liberal arts college located in Burlington, Vermont, that offered associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees, as well as several professional certificates. Although regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, the college was placed on probation in July 2014 for failing to meet the accreditor's standards regarding financial resources. The college announced on May 16, 2016 that it would cease operations on May 27.
Burlington College started in 1972 as the Vermont Institute of Community Involvement. A handful of students met in the living room of founder Dr. Steward LaCasce. It originally served adult learners and veterans.
In 2007, the college had 204 students at its main campus in buildings in downtown Burlington. Since most were part-time, this worked out to 130 "full-time equivalents". An additional 30 students studied off-campus.
In 2010, Jane O’Meara Sanders oversaw the purchase of 33 acres of property to be used for college expansion, with the resulting significant debt to be covered by already pledged donations and tuition from planned increased enrollment over five years. Sanders departed shortly after, with Christine Plunkett assuming the position of president.
In 2014, the regional accreditor of the college placed it on probation because of its financial condition, and votes of no confidence were given to Plunkett from organizations representing students, faculty, and staff. She resigned shortly thereafter. In May 2016, the college announced that it would be closing. According to David A. Graham, writing in The Atlantic, a good portion of the school's financial difficulties dated back to Sanders' tenure at the college, when the board of directors and Sanders purchased the property in 2010. However, by the time the college closed the original $11 million of debt had been worked down to about $2 million, and the actual reason for closure was the bank's refusal to extend a $1 million line of credit needed for operating funds. Thus, how much money the bank lost, if any, is unclear, as these numbers tend to show that the value of the remaining property should have exceeded the remaining debt due on the mortgage.
In 2010, Burlington College announced its intention to purchase the property of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington for use as its main campus. The college sold its former campus to the Committee for Temporary Shelter, a welfare agency, and purchased 32.4 acres (13.1 ha) of waterfront diocese property in early 2011. In 2015, the college arranged to sell a local developer a parcel of land, as well as the former diocesan orphanage attached to the office and classroom building. The developer, Farrell Real Estate, drafted a master plan to convert the orphanage to student housing. The college retained the original diocese building for classrooms, studios, art rooms, film and radio, laboratories, etc., and the surrounding property. At the press conference announcing the closure, the school stated that the developer would purchase the college's North Avenue campus from the bank.
Burlington College offered a span of undergraduate programs in the arts, writing and literature, film studies, photography, fine arts, legal studies, transpersonal psychology/psychology, human services, media activism, graphic design and an individualized undergraduate and graduate degree program. The college offered students study abroad options within Europe, and in 2008, Burlington College became one of the very few universities in the United States to offer a study abroad program in Havana, Cuba in conjunction with the University of Havana. Students had the ability to spend a semester at the university or take one of several one-week trips offered throughout the academic year. Burlington College joined several other universities in the United States by offering students the option of a narrative evaluation in addition to traditional transcripts.
In connection with the undergraduate legal studies program, Burlington College held an articulation agreement with Vermont Law School which allowed Burlington College graduates to proceed into the Juris Doctor and Joint Juris Doctor programs at Vermont Law School upon successful completion of their undergraduate studies. Burlington College also offered an affiliation with the Vermont Woodworking School in Fairfax. The courses in woodworking and fine craftsmanship were offered for credit to support both A.A. and B.F.A. degree programs. In addition to woodworking skills, students took the usual general education requirements of the college. The degree could be taken on campus, at a distance, or in combination. Burlington College offered a low-residency M.A. degree. The degree was individualized and tailored to meet the academic needs and focus of individual graduate students.
In August 2011, The Daily Beast and Newsweek ranked Burlington College as the number-one school in the United States for free-spirited students. In October 2013, Newsweek named Burlington College as among the 10 colleges in the United States to have the highest rate of participation in student internships in their study field.
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