MONTPELIER, Vt. (WFFF) — The Vermont State College System has voted to move forward with a school merger. The trustees voted Monday to support a plan where all three of the system’s residential colleges would merge into one school—Vermont State University. It would consolidate Northern Vermont University, Castleton University, and Vermont Technical College.
“Act as a fully integrated system that achieves financial stability in a responsible and sustainable way,” said Chancellor Sophie Zdatny. “And ensures equitable post-secondary education for all Vermonters including those marginalized or underrepresented historically.”
Zdatny presented a transformation proposal. She says it comes after an agreement to improve the state college system in exchange for financial help from the state, following years of declining enrollment and financial woes.
In addition to the annual $30 million the system receives, Governor Phil Scott proposed an additional $20 million in one-time spending, in his budget. The chancellor’s office has asked for $67.4 million in order to achieve the plan, which has been widely supported by the board.
“I believe this is the best structure to do it,” said Rep. Dylan Giambatista. “I do hope it will lead to the best outcomes for our state and get us the resources to do it the best we can.”
The state colleges do have experience with consolidation as they merged Johnson and Lyndon state just a few years ago, rebranding as Northern Vermont University. It’s something that Zdatny says is becoming more common across New England.
“State college in Connecticut is going through a consolidation process, I know the governor in New Hampshire just made an announcement,” she said. “I think higher education is changing, these are conversations that aren’t unique to Vermont that need to be happening across the country.”
The Community College of Vermont will continue to operate as a separate institution.