"Bloomfield College of Montclair State University" on the horizon
MONTCLAIR, NJ - Bloomfield College and Montclair State University announced today that the presidents of each institution have been authorized by their Boards of Trustees to sign an Agreement and Plan of Merger. This document sets forth the terms and conditions under which the two institutions will merge, and advances plans to create "Bloomfield College of Montclair State University."
Bloomfield College will continue to operate independently, but in close collaboration with Montclair State University, through the 2022-2023 academic year, and until it is officially part of the University. The goal is for the merger to be completed on or before June 30, 2023.
Bloomfield students enrolled at the time of the merger will be able to continue their education without interruption and without additional costs. In addition, Montclair State University will make every effort to provide employment opportunities for Bloomfield College's current employees.
Bloomfield President Marcheta P. Evans shared her enthusiasm, and her confidence in Montclair's commitment to Bloomfield College and maintaining its mission, legacy and name. "Bloomfield College of Montclair State University will support and serve our current and future students by providing a transformative educational experience with access to the University's abundant resources," Evans said.
According to Montclair State University President Jonathan GS Koppell, the University intends for the College to continue to offer a transformative education with an emphasis on first-generation students from a diversity of backgrounds, empowering them to attain academic, personal and professional excellence in a multicultural and global society.
"Students enrolled at Bloomfield College will benefit from a distinctive educational environment offering a supportive, small college experience enhanced by the resources of a comprehensive public research university," Koppell said. "This partnership could serve as a new national model for how institutions with similar missions can innovate through integration, and become partners in ensuring student success instead of competitors."
The merger agreement, approved by both boards, sets the stage for a series of reviews and approvals by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education (OSHE), and other accreditors and regulators as well as action by the state legislature. Earlier this year, state leaders showed their support for Montclair's work with Bloomfield College by allocating $12.5 million to Bloomfield, helping to ensure it can continue serving its students through the 2022-2023 academic year.
Over the next several months, the two institutions will continue to address the many outstanding details and develop comprehensive plans to ensure a smooth transition.
A significant milestone
This milestone is another significant step forward in a highly complex process to join the small private four-year college with the large public university.
In October 2021, Bloomfield College publicly announced it was seeking strategic partnerships and philanthropic support from the higher education and corporate communities to enable the four-year institution to continue its vital mission - creating educational pathways that are often not otherwise available for minority and low-income students. More than 81% of Bloomfield College students are people of color, nearly 70% are Pell Grant eligible and the median family income is below $33,000. Bloomfield College is the only four-year college in New Jersey recognized as a Predominantly Black Institution (PBI), Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), and Minority Serving Institution (MSI).
Bloomfield received numerous inquiries from interested institutions but the most promising came from nearby Montclair State University. As the presidents of the two institutions explored opportunities for collaboration, Bloomfield's Board of Trustees concurred that Montclair State University was the ideal match.
"The missions of both institutions are closely aligned," said Bloomfield Board of Trustees Chair Vernon M. Endo. "It was clear that Montclair is as committed as we are to providing traditionally underserved students access to high-quality educational experiences and a pathway to social and economic advancement," he said.
"I applaud President Evans and President Koppell for their innovative vision in this endeavor," said Montclair State University Board of Trustees Chair Francis M. Cuss. "Together, we will ensure generations of students will change the trajectory of their lives in supportive academic communities filled with experiential learning opportunities. This partnership will bring the best of both institutions to more students, which can only be seen as a win for the State of New Jersey."
News of the merger was praised by several New Jersey Legislators.
"I am a firm believer that access to high quality education can change the trajectory and outcomes of everyone's life. It is wonderful to see two institutions that are national leaders in driving social mobility for the students they serve come together to further ensure student success," said Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz (D-29). "Students who attend both Bloomfield and Montclair are making an investment in themselves that they hope will change the course of their lives, and by joining in this new partnership, the schools are making that investment that much more impactful."
"This partnership is a critical enhancement to the higher education ecosystem in New Jersey," said Senate President Pro Tempore and Senate Higher Education Committee Chair Sandra B. Cunningham (D-31). "I am proud to support the vision of two Presidents who are coming together to ensure students from underserved populations will have the opportunity to truly change the trajectory of their lives for generations to come."
"I could not be more pleased that two minority-serving institutions are working together in this manner. Montclair State University is New Jersey's largest Hispanic-Serving Institution and Bloomfield College is the state's lone four-year Predominantly Black Institution," said Assemblywoman and Chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee Mila Jasey (D-27). "The outstanding leadership of Presidents Marcheta Evans and Jonathan Koppell has crafted creative ideas and put generous state funding approved by the Legislature to good use, and the result is an innovative partnership. Their tireless efforts to make this a reality are an inspiration to the higher education landscape in New Jersey, and my heartfelt and sincere congratulations go to each of these venerable institutions and their tremendous leaders."
"I am honored to be part of this important partnership coming to fruition, and want to extend my gratitude to Governor Murphy and my fellow legislators for believing in this critically important initiative," said Assemblyman Ralph R. Caputo (D-28). "It is wonderful to know that the communities served by Bloomfield College will be able to continue their academic pursuits, and that future students will have the opportunity to do so as part of a new educational experience."
"I am pleased to see Bloomfield College and Montclair State University coming together to help students both now and in the future harness the power of higher education to change their lives," said State Senator Kristin M. Corrado (R-40).
"I am thrilled to see two pillars of Essex County come together to ensure the success of students," said Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo. "This county is a wonderful place to live, work and go to school, and this new partnership between Bloomfield College and Montclair State University will only make our community stronger."
"From its humble beginnings as a German Theological School founded by the Presbytery of Newark to becoming one of the finest private colleges in the country, for nearly two centuries, Bloomfield College has served New Jersey's best and brightest," said Assemblyman Thomas Giblin (D-34). "The collaboration with Montclair State University, aligning with a school with similar educational values, I am proud to see Bloomfield College's name and mission will carry forward. Together, they will continue to serve the diverse population of students and prepare them for future success."
"Communities of color deserve the opportunity to change the course of their lives and of the lives of their families, so I am happy to support the financial allocation approved in the Governor's budget that furthers this important partnership," said Assemblywoman and Budget Committee Chair Eliana Pintor Marin (D-29). "I am proud to support two institutions with similar missions coming together to uplift these traditionally underserved communities."
"Education is a powerful tool that can change a person's life," said Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney (R-40). "By establishing this partnership, Montclair State University and Bloomfield College are giving more students the chance to have access to all that a college education can provide."
"This partnership is about investing in our young people, and continuing to provide life-changing educational opportunities for students who want to make a difference in the world," said Assemblywoman Britnee N. Timberlake (D-34). "I am proud to see two institutions stay true to the missions that have educated generations of students, and I applaud Presidents Evans and Koppell for their forward-looking leadership in making this new educational model a reality."