Evangelical liberal arts college The King’s College has announced it will not be offering classes for the fall 2023 semester, following months of speculation that the institution will shutter permanently.
The school, which has long called itself the “only Christian liberal arts college in New York City,” has always been small — with an enrollment class of under 600 students prior to the pandemic.
But facing a crippling economic situation coupled with dwindling enrollment, administrators announced last week that classes will not be available and that many faculty or staff positions have been terminated.
King’s, a Christian non-profit school established in 1938, had always relied on donations and fundraising to operate and has on at least one occasion has only remained open due to last-minute donations from generous benefactors.
Since 1999, King’s has experienced extreme financial deficits. To combat this, the school partnered with Canadian for-profit educational company Primacorp Ventures Inc. in 2021 with a goal of focusing on “student recruitment, marketing and fund-raising.”
But the partnership couldn’t save King’s, which saw mass layoffs in November of the following year and the eventual resignation of school president Tim Gibson, who had orchestrated the Primacorp partnership.
Students were encouraged to apply to other universities as the financial situation became more and more dire.
This past February, students residing in the school’s Brooklyn-based student housing received eviction notices as King’s allegedly stopped paying rent at the building, as first reported by the school’s newspaper the Empire State Tribune.
The students were never actually evicted, but it appeared the school broke its lease with the building’s management company in May.
“The school didn’t end up paying the rent they owed,” King’s sophomore and Empire State Tribune journalist Mandie-Beth Chau told Brooklyn Paper. “They broke their lease or something at the end of May and just got rid of all the student furniture. We got an email that said that we could pick up any furniture if we wanted.”
While the decision to not offer any instruction in the coming semester as well as terminate staff and faculty positions seems final, the school’s board of trustees has insisted that the school is not officially shuttered.
“We emphasize that this is not a decision to close the King’s College permanently,” the board said in July 17 update. “The Board of Trustees and senior administration will continue to navigate the College’s next steps and contend for King’s future over the coming months.”
Representatives from The King’s College declined to comment when approached by Brooklyn Paper.
The school’s future, however, does not seem entirely clear, as the school is also undergoing an appeals process with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education to maintain their accreditation.
The hope that the school will be able to resume normal instruction seems fairly unrealistic to students.
“The most cynical students, like myself, I think are probably like ‘Oh yeah the school is done’ and that was probably last semester,” said Chau. “Anyone who really knows a lot about the history of King’s, it’s very tumultuous financially.”
It seems that without a hefty eleventh-hour donation, the school is doomed to close, with the board of trustees issuing a grim pseudo-farewell statement.
“We had deeply hoped and prayed that we would be able to welcome our community back to campus this fall,” the Board of Trustees wrote in an email. “However, we continue to trust God’s goodness, sovereignty, and perfect timing in all things. Thank you for generously giving your time, treasure, and talents to The King’s Community over many years.”
Last updated July 27, 2023 12:44 pm