The regional accreditation agency, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, which put the college on probation, visited the campus last month. In an interview that the college posted on YouTube, NEASC officials called the decline in enrollment — from 186 full-time undergraduate students in the fall of 2014 to 123 in the fall of 2015 — a “major risk.”
But they also praised the college for reducing its debt, stabilizing its administrative staff and streamlining its course offerings, among other changes.
Coralee Holm, the college spokesperson, described lowering tuition as a way to reduce the financial pressure on students. She noted that 80 percent of the student body receives financial aid. Holm also said that market research suggested a decrease would bring Burlington College more in line with comparable institutions.
College officials are optimistic that the school can make up the difference, Holm said, noting an increase in applications for the 2016-17 year. In the meantime, they're hoping Monday's announcement will entice additional transfer students.
NEASC will make a final decision about whether to continue to accredit Burlington College after a hearing next spring.