Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Bernie Sanders effect? College once led by wife closes -- due to crushing debt

Awkward! ...

A college once run by self-declared socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders' wife, Jane Sanders, has been crushed by debt and will close at the end of the month, the dean of operations said in a statement.

The debt came in large part from a $10 million real estate deal put into place under Sanders in 2010, when she served as Burlington College president.

"These hurdles are insurmountable at this time," said Coralee Holm, the dean of operations and advancement, in a statement. "It is with a great sense of loss to the educational community that Burlington College's progressive and unique educational model will no longer be available to students."

Current president Carol Moore said students currently attending classes could transfer their credits at nearby colleges.

"[This brings a] deep sense of loss and sadness," Moore said, of the closing, NBC News reported.

Jane Sanders didn't issue any immediate comment, and when NBC asked the senator's presidential campaign for comment, the reply from communications director Michael Brigges was this: "No." Sen. Sanders, meanwhile, has advocated on the campaign trail for free higher education for all Americans.

Jane Sanders pushed in 2010 for the college to buy a 32-acre parcel of land by Lake Champlain from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington in order to increase student enrollment by 2020 from 200 to 400. She left the college in 2011, having served as its president since 2004.

By 2014, the college was suffering under massive debt from the land purchase and placed on probation by its accrediting agency for lacking resources. In desperation, college officials turned to a developer to buy the parcel, at a loss, for $7.65 million. Just last month, however, the school was informed by its lender that its line of credit was being shuttered. The Board of Trustees, in response, announced the only way out of the crushing debt was to close the school.

Burlington College was operational for 44 years.

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