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LONGMEADOW — The boards of Bay Path University and Cambridge College announced today that Bay Path has entered into a formal agreement to acquire Cambridge College. This move reflects a strategic focus by both institutions on planning for future success providing career-focused education models to a diverse student population.

“The determination and spirit that have guided Bay Path for 127 years pave the way for this next phase in our evolution. We look forward to working with Cambridge College to meet student needs with innovation, market responsiveness, and bold action,” said Sandra Doran, president of Bay Path University.

Cambridge College, a Boston-based, private, nonprofit institution established in 1971, is a leader in providing affordable, career-oriented education to a diverse population of adult learners.

“In planning for the future, Cambridge College’s board and leadership recognized that a larger platform and a like-minded partner would give us the greatest opportunity to advance our mission,” said Stephen Healey, interim president of Cambridge College. “Bay Path University is uniquely suited to integrate Cambridge College’s programs and serve our non-traditional student body. We are excited to come together in a partnership that will provide a promising path forward and a seamless transition for students.”

Bay Path and Cambridge began discussions about a possible relationship in late summer 2023. Each based its decision to join together on the shared mission of the two institutions.

“The promise that both our institutions make to our students is that their dreams of a better career, a richer life, and a brighter future will be realized,” Doran and Headley said. “Bay Path and Cambridge College share core values of access, innovation, excellence, diversity, and collaboration. This relationship will enable us to build upon one another’s strengths. We will be better and stronger together.”

Doran added that “both Bay Path and Cambridge College share a reputation for providing transformative education by responding to changes in the workforce-development needs of the region and creating positive economic opportunities for our graduates. Bringing together Bay Path’s depth and breadth of undergraduate and graduate programs with Cambridge College’s extensive network of programs and partners in Eastern Massachusetts creates tremendous opportunities for our students today and far into the future.”

The two institutions have shared their plans and the greater opportunity created by a combined organization with both the Commonwealth’s Department of Higher Education, which has regulatory purview over both Bay Path and Cambridge, and the New England Commission of Higher Education, which accredits both institutions. Both organizations will be working with Bay Path and Cambridge to ensure the process to combine the institutions meets their respective standards and regulatory requirements.

Throughout this transition, continuity of student experience is a priority for both Cambridge College and Bay Path. Between now and the time that the two institutions are fully integrated (through at least the summer of 2025), they anticipate that programs at Cambridge College will continue at the same cost (maintaining Cambridge College’s tuition and fees), and students completing their programs will receive degrees awarded by Cambridge College. They also anticipate new opportunities to access additional Bay Path programs beginning as early as this summer. Following receipt of regulatory approvals, Cambridge College would be fully integrated into Bay Path University, at which time all Cambridge College students would become students of Bay Path University.

“The Department of Higher Education [DHE] commends Cambridge College and Bay Path for coming together to join their two institutions in a way that prioritizes students,” Massachusetts Commissioner of Higher Education Noe Ortega said. “In any college transition, such as the affiliation announced by Cambridge College and Bay Path, DHE’s top priority is to ensure that students are informed of changes as soon as possible and have ample time to either earn a degree from the institution at which they started or make informed decisions about transferring. The leaders of both institutions have shown a commitment to a smooth transition for current Cambridge College students that gives us confidence that degree completion for these students will continue to be prioritized.”

The acquisition of Cambridge College, designated among the best colleges and universities for Latinos, will nearly double the number of students served by Bay Path and bring total enrollment to more than 5,000, including a growing number of international students. The university’s business-to-business strategy will also be strengthened.

Since 2020, Cambridge has been providing educational solutions throughout Eastern Mass. to businesses and nonprofit organizations as part of its acquisition of the New England College of Business, now known as CC Global, reflecting its commitment to workforce development. Bay Path, through its Office of Partnership Development, provides learning solutions to a growing portfolio of businesses and organizations, including Denny’s Corp., Baystate Health, and PeoplesBank.

The geographies served by Bay Path will also expand to include Cambridge’s Eastern Mass. location as well as its growing Puerto Rico location. Opened in downtown San Juan more than 20 years ago, the campus provides graduate programs in business and technology as well as education and counseling to working professionals.

Bay Path currently operates two locations: its Longmeadow campus, which serves women at the undergraduate level, and the state-of-the-art Philip H. Ryan Health Science Center in East Longmeadow, which provides graduate degrees in education, healthcare, and psychology. The university also grants undergraduate degrees online through the American Women’s College, recently ranked by Forbes as one of the top three online women’s colleges in the nation.

Bay Path’s acquisition of Cambridge College is likely to be complete in June. Full integration of Cambridge College into Bay Path will take 18 to 24 months, pending a series of approvals by accreditors and appropriate state and federal regulators.