CASTLETON — Marlboro College students wishing to remain in Vermont following the school’s planned closing this spring now have an option in Rutland County: Castleton University.

Currently matriculated Marlboro students in good academic standing will be able to transfer to Castleton via a streamlined process, which will waive application fees and certain transfer application requirements, as well as accept most credits.

In addition, the university said it will offer students a financial aid package that will keep tuition costs “equivalent to or less than” what students paid at Marlboro in the 2019-20 academic year.

The college has reached similar transfer agreements with Bennington College and College of the Atlantic, in Maine.

“We are always happy to have the opportunity to keep students in Vermont whenever we can,” said James Lambert, director of marketing and communications at Castleton University.

Lambert noted the difficulty such mergers and closures pose for students, and said he is pleased Castleton has been able to provide students with the opportunity to stay in the state. According to Lambert, the university has brought more than 100 students to its campus over the past year through similar transfer and teach-out agreements with Green Mountain College, the College of St. Joseph and Southern Vermont College.

“We are always looking for any chance to serve (students) in the best way we can.”

Opened in 1946, Marlboro joins a number of New England colleges that have, in recent years, been forced to close or merge due to declines in college-age populations across the region.

“Everyone in New England, save for the Harvards and such, are facing tough demographic and cost pressures,” said Lambert.

Such pressures force schools to reexamine traditional models.

In November, Marlboro announced its plans to merge with Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts, after a tentative merger with the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut fell through in September. The move will shutter Marlboro’s Windham County campus at the close of this academic year, and relocate its programs to Emerson College in Boston, Mass.

The merger is part of a $40 million deal where Emerson effectively absorbs Marlboro’s $30 million endowment and $10 million real estate assets.

Once the merger is completed, students will have the option of transferring to Emerson to finish their degrees at current tuition rates at the newly named Marlboro Institute of Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies.

The new transfer agreement now provides another option for students not interested in moving from a rural Vermont campus with a student population of around 150 to Emerson’s downtown Boston location with its more than 4500-student population.

“We understand students have various preferences and needs in meeting their academic goals, and that for some students transferring to an institution other than Emerson may be their best path forward,” said Fumio Sugihara, Marlboro College’s dean of admissions and financial aid.

To that end, Sugihara said the college will support students wherever they choose to go.

“Admissions will support any student interested in transferring to an institution other than the Marlboro Institute, including institutions that are not included in our partnerships,” said Sugihara.

jim.sabataso@rutlandherald.com

jim.sabataso

@rutlandherald.com

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