Joint Statement from New England Commission of Higher Education, Pine Manor College, and the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education

To Pine Manor College Students, Parents and Members of the Campus Community:


New England Commission of Higher Education:

Pine Manor College:   

At its meeting March 5, 2020, the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) voted to issue a Notation with respect to Pine Manor College, because the Commission found that the College’s accreditation may be in jeopardy if current financial conditions continue or worsen with respect to the Commission’s standard on Institutional Resources.
The Commission monitors institutions issued a Notation, and will require a focused evaluation within two years to assess the institution’s success in addressing the identified concerns. In addition, the Commission will meet with Pine Manor College at its April meeting to consider updated information. The Commission will continue to work closely with the College as it works to stabilize its resources and looks after the well-being of its students.

The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE) is working with Pine Manor College to ensure that, in the event the institution is unable to sustain full operations within the next 18 months, students will have opportunities to transfer to another institution of higher education with minimal disruption to their education.

President Tom O’Reilly said, “At Pine Manor College, students come first. The mission of Pine Manor College is to make certain that all graduates are prepared to take meaningful steps in their lives: engaging in new jobs and careers, continuing to learn, and positively contributing to their communities. Students, including those who are first in their families to attend college, who are looking for a purposeful education in a personalized and inclusive learning community will find a home at Pine Manor College. For the past four years, Pine Manor College has been true to its mission serving a population that is 85% students of color, 84% first generation in the families to attend college, 80% low-income, and 50% multi-lingual. The College has graduated our students at four times the national average for the demographic we serve. Over 90% of our students have found employment or enrolled in advanced studies within six months of graduating. The College’s enrollment, retention, fundraising, and finances have shown remarkable strength as Pine Manor College has been innovative in generating diverse revenues streams to fund the College and student learning at an affordable price.”

Owing to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the College’s financial situation has become uncertain, such that it cannot confirm that it can sustain full operations at the current levels beyond the current academic year. However, given the importance of its mission, the College, working with NECHE and DHE, intends to continue to work through the economic setbacks posed by the coronavirus to remain “home” for its students.

Pine Manor College has been working proactively and collaboratively with DHE to engage in contingency planning to ensure an orderly process exists in the event the institution is unable to sustain full operations within the next 18 months. As part of this process, representatives from the DHE are working closely with Pine Manor College to ensure that a contingency closure plan is in place. Consistent with the DHE’s requirements, contingency planning must include multiple options for students that would allow both students and families to make plans to continue their education with minimal disruption, along with robust student supports, and timely notification to all relevant stakeholders. Protecting the interests of the college community, especially students, remains the top priority of Pine Manor College and DHE.

The New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly operating as the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of NEASC, is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a reliable authority as to the quality of education. The Commission accredits 220 degree-granting institutions in the six New England states and eleven American-style institutions in other countries.

Pine Manor College was first accredited by the Commission of Institutions of Higher Education (now NECHE) in 1939. Located in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, the institution was originally the postsecondary division of Dana Hall School. Pine Manor College offers nine baccalaureate majors, 30 minors, and a Master in Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE) is the state higher education authorizing agency, with responsibilities which include consumer protection for students enrolled in post-secondary education, and degree authorization for private higher education institutions.