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Iona College to buy Concordia’s Bronxville New York campus

Iona College will acquire the nearby Bronxville campus of Concordia College New York to potentially use as a school of health sciences, the institutions announced in a joint news release.

The formal agreement, which is subject to regulatory approval, calls for Concordia to cease classes and close by the fall 2021 semester. The 33-acre Concordia campus is about three miles away from Iona’s.

The acquisition marks the latest in a series of closures for the Concordia University system, run by the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church, in the last eight years. Concordia University Ann Arbor was annexed by Concordia University Wisconsin in 2013, and Concordia College in Alabama, a historically Black college, shut its doors five years later. Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, followed in February 2020, announcing it would close at the end of its spring semester due to falling enrollment and mounting debt.

Six schools will remain in the system after the New York Campus closes, per Inside Higher Ed.

Concordia’s students will be offered the chance to continue their degree studies at Iona, a Catholic college, through a teach-out plan, the schools said.

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“Concordia’s challenges are reflected broadly in the higher education sector; accelerated by the pandemic, these challenges necessitated an outcome that brings deep pain to all those invested in Concordia and its 140-year history,” said Rev. John A. Nunes, Concordia’s president. “I am grateful to the board of regents and my administration for working so hard to save our institution. Students continue to be our priority. By acting now, Concordia’s regents have provided our students with an excellent pathway for continuing the high-quality, faith-informed education they began at Concordia.”

Nunes told Inside Higher Ed that the New York campus was the most diverse in the Concordia system, and that it would be “a huge loss to the church in many ways” because “Lutherans are not very diverse at all.”

He said many students dropped out to take jobs and help their families—many of whom work in hard-hit service sectors—as the pandemic worsened. The school’s enrollment dropped by nearly 500 in fall 2020.

The colleges said they plan to co-host a series of town halls to discuss the changeover process and answer questions, with details to be announced.

Anne Stych

Anne Stych is a writer in Charlotte, North Carolina.