Another small liberal arts college on the outskirts of Boston is closing as it deals with "weighty financial challenges."

Newbury College in Brookline announced Friday that it intends to cease operations after the spring 2019 semester, though President Joseph Chillo said in a message to the college community that officials are exploring partnerships that could keep the school open.

"The Board of Trustees and I have concluded that it is in the best interests of our students, prospective students, faculty and staff to notify them immediately, so they can make the best decisions for their future," Chillo wrote in a message posted to the college's website. "Accordingly, we are providing this notice, before we are legally required to do so, because it is the right thing to do."

The impending closure of Newbury College comes months after the closure and sale of Mount Ida College in Newton roiled the higher education world. The deal for the University of Massachusetts Amherst to buy the Newton campus appeared to have taken public higher education officials by surprise.

Chillo said he and the Newbury College board are working closely with the Department of Higher Education and are "in the process of formalizing agreements with area colleges and universities to ensure our students have the best opportunities to continue their studies and to earn their college degree."

The Boston Globe reported in August that the college had been put on probation by a regional accrediting agency over concerns about the school's finances. The report said enrollment at Newbury College declined by 24 percent from 2012 to 2016.

"It is no secret that weighty financial challenges are pressing on liberal arts colleges throughout the country. Newbury College is no exception," Chillo wrote. "These financial challenges, the product of major changes in demographics and costs, are the driving factors behind our decision to close at the end of this academic year."

Chillo said more information on the school's closing plans will be made available "shortly" and that students and faculty will receive regular updates.

~ Colin A. Young/SHNS

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