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Mount Washington College, formerly Hesser College, to close its campuses in Concord and Portsmouth

Mount Washington College will close its campuses in Concord and Portsmouth at the end of the year.

The for-profit college, which until July 1 was called Hesser College, said consolidating its five New Hampshire locations into three will eliminate 45 jobs, but no programs will be cut.

New enrollments at the Concord and Portsmouth campuses ended as of Thursday. About 375 students are studying at the two campuses, said Stephen White, a spokesman for the college.

“Many of the students currently taking their coursework on their programs in Concord and Portsmouth will be able to complete their studies and programs, and graduate before the end of the year. This decision won’t have any impact on them,” White said yesterday.

The remaining students are “being given a number of options,” he said, including continuing their coursework at the college’s Manchester, Nashua or Salem campuses.

White said the college decided to close the Concord and Portsmouth campuses “in large part” due to falling student enrollment.

“A year ago, for us across the college, there were roughly 1,850 students,” he said. “And a year later, in July, there were about 1,450 students.”

College enrollment has dropped at the national level, too, though not as much.

Total enrollment at U.S. colleges and universities this spring was down 2 percent from a year earlier, and for four-year for-profit colleges, enrollment was down 3.8 percent, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

Hesser College was founded in 1900 in Manchester. Now owned by Kaplan Inc., a Florida-based higher education company, it changed its name this summer to Mount Washington College and announced it would launch an online degree program, with classes starting in September.

Its Concord campus opened in 1998 on Hall Street at the Gateway Center, formerly known as the Bear Right building. It expanded in 2010 and moved to 16 Foundry St., near Exit 16 off Interstate 93, where it offered degrees in business administration, criminal justice and medical assisting, among others.

“We thrive knowing that this is a cosmopolitan city that has different academic presences,” said Carlos Baia, Concord’s deputy city manager for development. “We’re honored to have the University of New Hampshire School of Law, NHTI, the expanded New England College, which just opened a campus here.”

As for Mount Washington College’s departure, Baia said, “We are sad to see them go, but we’re sure that space will fill up with a new tenant.”

(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or
bleubsdorf@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)

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