Becker College closing permanently at end of academic year

Becker College, with campuses in Worcester and Leicester, is closing its doors for good at the end of the current academic year, according to a message from Christine Cassidy, the Chair of Becker College Board of Trustees.

Cassidy made the announcement on Monday morning, writing, “It is with deep regret that I share the news that on March 28, the Board of Trustees voted to permanently close Becker College.”

The college will provide academic support and transitional services to students through Aug. 31, Cassidy wrote.

“Particularly as a Becker alumna myself, this was an exceptionally painful decision for the Board to come to, but one that followed many months of striving for a viable, sustainable, and responsible path to address the increasing financial pressures on our College,” Cassidy wrote.

“We are committed to doing everything possible to ensure that our students, faculty, and staff have access to the best opportunities. The College has made arrangements with several area universities to provide admission to Becker students; those details are available on this website. Please refer back to this site often to learn about next steps and to find answers to your questions.”

Some local schools are stepping up to help current Becker students complete their degrees once doors close at the end of the year.

“Clark is establishing the Becker School of Design & Technology at Clark University to house Becker’s internationally ranked program in Interactive Media Design (game design) and associated concentrations, as well as Esports Management and Integrated Graphic Design,” Clark University said in a release. “Becker students in Business, Criminology, and Computer Science also have pathways at Clark to complete their degrees.”

Dean Alan Ritacco and Associate Dean Paul Cotnoir of Becker’s School of Design & Technology, as well as some faculty members from the school, will migrate over to the soon-to-be established school at Clark University as well.

“With the establishment of the Becker School of Design & Technology at Clark University, Clark is preserving a treasured piece of Worcester’s past while creating unlimited potential for transformative innovation,” Dean Ritacco said.

Clark will operate that school at Becker College’s Worcester campus for the upcoming academic year. The university also created a website for Becker students to learn more about the transfer process.

Assumption College also is set to help continuing students, according to a release put out on Monday.

“Assumption has announced that the University and Becker have signed an agreement to offer Becker students the opportunity for an uninterrupted continuation of their degree programs,” the statement reads, in part. “Assumption will provide a seamless transition for eligible Becker students majoring in six areas: computer science, graphic design, management, nursing, pre-physical therapy, and psychology.”

The college is also allowing Becker students to pay the same tuition at Assumption as they would at Becker for the 2021-2022 academic year.

“While the Department acknowledges that any institutional closure is challenging for members of a campus community, we appreciate the progress the President and staff have made to date to identify multiple transfer options for students to continue their degrees with minimal disruption,” the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education said in a published statement on the Becker College closure.

Still, some students are frustrated by the abrupt decision.

“When it finally hit me, it was just sadness and kind of confusion because what am I going to do next?” said Callie Bucchino, a junior and a commuter student from Oxford.

Bucchino added that her two options for schools that Becker College provided to her are now in Newton and Longmeadow. Both are an hour or more away.

“I had to go on each individual college website and kind of check out where they’re located; can I even commute there, will I have to live there?” she asked.

Her brother Conner Bucchino, a freshman at Becker College, shared a similar sentiment.

“I put a lot of trust in the college that they were going to be able to provide me with an education, and it really feels like they broke that,” he said.

Conner Bucchino told Boston 25 News that he was considering changing his major, and now he isn’t sure what school he can attend without an increase in cost.

“The only option I was given in an email was Clark University. I don’t know much about them other than they had a video design program and it fell through,” he said. “If I felt like changing, I’m essentially going to lose all my funding because they want me to pursue that major.”

Their mother, Diane Bucchino, said that the implications could create a financial burden on the family.

“As a parent, it just kills you because you want only the best for your kids, and when you see their dreams really being shattered, it’s just not a good feeling. It’s not,” she said.

The state also published a website that provides information and resources for Becker students and families.