The historic evangelical college known for its commitment to racial diversity is trying to sell its campus in Nyack, New York and fend off financial losses from enrollment declines. I am saddened to see this. I taught as an adjunct in the history department during the 1990s.
As a new evangelical I always looked to Nyack College and The Kings College as the flagship evangelical schools of the New York metropolitan area. Kings eventually moved from its Briarcliff Manor campus to New York City and redefined itself. It seems like Nyack will try to do something similar.
As Emily Belz reports at World, Nyack is not the only Christian college facing financial difficulties. Here is a taste of her piece:
Nyack College, a Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA) school in the New York City area, received an independent audit in 2017 with an opinion any institution dreads: “substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern.”
The evangelical school with a 120-year history in New York was looking at looming insolvency, according to the audit, because of its tens of millions in debt and falling revenues.
Nyack has about $70 million in debt, according to its IRS 990 forms, on which it paid about $4 million in interest in the 2017 fiscal year. The 2017 audit noted that Nyack had to withdraw the majority of the funds from its endowment to cover expenses (some of that has been paid back), stopped paying into employee retirement funds in 2015, and has violated its debt covenants. Still, the school has managed to stay open to offer classes this fall.
“They’re good Christian people dealing with a market that’s gone really south … [but] it’s an ugly financial picture,” said Thomas Bakewell, a CPA and attorney who has consulted with dozens of faith-based colleges and universities on financial issues. He also served for 15 years on the board of Lindenwood University while it went through a major financial crisis. (Bakewell hasn’t consulted for Nyack.)
Since 2010, Nyack has lost across its programs at least 1,000 students in its total enrollment, which was down to 2,315 in 2018. Each year since 2016 Nyack has been operating $6 million to $8 million in the red—huge losses for an institution with a roughly $60 million budget. From a random sampling of 990s, most similar Christian colleges operated in the black even with falling enrollment.
Read the rest here.