As promised during Thursday’s conference call with President Paula Peinovich and Provost Dan Katz, we have prepared the following information in response to the many questions you sent via email, social media, our blog, and by phone. The following is what we know now and we hope to be able to provide by mid-December more specific information to students, faculty and staff detailing how the closure will proceed.
NLC is closing in an orderly manner. Pursuant to the Board of Trustees’ direction, over the coming months, NLC will be shutting down a little bit at a time. NLC officers are writing a plan on how to close down the College in an orderly way. We do not have an exact timeline of these events, but we will share it when we do.
Our main focus is on the students. We want students who are close to graduation to be able to finish their degree at National Labor College. To that end, our Provost and academic advisors are recommending course substitutions and finding other ways to make sure you can complete your degree at NLC, especially if you just have a handful of classes remaining. Please contact your academic advisor as soon as possible to discuss your individual educational plan. And remember to do your current classwork so you continue to earn credit for your hard work.
This process takes time. Since each student is in a unique situation, we need to determine which students need which courses to be able to complete their degrees. We want the process to be as easy, seamless and stress-free as possible but realize it may be a bit bumpy.
Why is NLC closing? NLC’s Board of Trustees reluctantly decided to accept the inevitability of closure due to the College’s ongoing financial difficulties. The financial difficulties stem largely from the heavy debt burden taken on when the Kirkland Conference Center was built in 2006.
Why can’t we just raise more money? We can try to raise more money, and we have been trying. The three main funding mechanisms of any college are: tuition, grants, and fundraising.
Tuition revenue. At NLC, our student tuition is intentionally set a reasonable level – the 40th percentile of in-state tuition for state schools. And although our student body has been growing, the tuition revenue alone will not be able to make a dent in the debt burden of the property. The tuition revenue covers the costs of operating the academic program.
Grants. NLC has received a good share of grants, both federal and state, but once again, while these grants assist in the day-to-day operating costs of the College, they don’t address the debt burden.
Fundraising. The third mechanism is fundraising and President Peinovich has been a tireless advocate for NLC. She personally raised over $5 million from international and local unions, labor-oriented organizations, businesses and wealthy individuals. Under her auspices, NLC held our first ever “Galas” and instituted the “Leadership Circle” which both raised NLC’s profile and gathered funds for the College. NLC also conducted a fundraising drive last year among alumni that garnered $4,000.
Campus Property Sale. As a final effort, NLC has been trying to sell our major asset, the campus property, since the College doesn’t need dormitories and classrooms anymore. While we thought we would be able to get out from under the debt burden over the summer with the sale of our property to Reid Temple and the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission, that deal fell through. The property is still for sale but we have no idea when it will be sold. Many commercial land developers are not ready to purchase the property at the present time because of a pending zoning issue in the county.
NLC is open for current students and federal financial aid is available in spring 2014. Please register now for for the upcoming semester (January – May 2014) so NLC gets a sense of what students need. Payment can be made at a later date. Make sure to apply for financial aid by our priority deadline of December 2, 2013. NLC is no longer accepting applications. We are not admitting any new students in any program.
The value of an NLC degree. No matter how or when NLC closes, NLC degrees will retain their full value since NLC is regionally accredited through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104; (267) 284-5000. For more information about how accreditation works and what it means, go to www.msche.org.
Access to academic transcripts. NLC will work with the State of Maryland and possibly another institution to ensure students and alumni will have access to their transcripts in perpetuity. As soon as we have the details worked out, we will share them with you.
Access to senior papers or projects. Please contact the Office of the Provost (301-628-5603) if you have questions about your senior project or paper.
National Labor College faculty and employees. NLC is meeting with the bargaining unit representatives for all the unions on campus to determine what will happen to employees. The unions include The Newspaper Guild/CWA; OPEIU Local 2; SEIU; IUOE; and AFT.
National Labor College’s Silver Spring campus. NLC’s 47-acre property is currently for sale. There are a number of offers for the property, and the realtor will continue to work with the bidders to sell the property.
The National Workers Memorial. The National Workers Memorial will be relocated to an appropriate location.
George Meany Memorial Archives. The George Meany Memorial Archives were donated to the University of Maryland in October 2013. For more information please visit the archive’s page on the University of Maryland website.
NLC’s Board of Trustees. On the call someone asked for the contact information of our Board members. Their names and positions are all available here on our website.
NLC Campus Art & Artifacts. Many graduating classes, unions and individuals have donated beautiful pieces of art and other special mementos to the College. We are in the process of cataloguing which artwork belongs to NLC, which belong to the AFL-CIO and which belongs to others. We will next determine a plan for the distribution of any appropriate pieces.
Graduation 2014. At this point, we are uncertain whether NLC will be holding Commencement Exercises in person. Typically, we hold a ceremony on the fourth Saturday of June, so that would be Saturday, June 28, 2014.