Formerly Nyack College, the school was in bad financial shape for several years. The loss of accreditation earlier this week forced a reckoning.

Alliance University, a 140-year-old Christian & Missionary Alliance (CMA) school in New York City, will close on August 31 after years of financial struggles.

Known for much of its history as Nyack College, Alliance is the latest casualty in the financial crisis in Christian higher education . At least 18 Christian colleges have closed since the pandemic. But Alliance is also unique among US evangelical schools as one of the most ethnically diverse, with a student population that this year was 34 percent Latino, 30 percent Black, 11 percent international, and 9 percent Asian.

The parent denomination of the school, the CMA, began in New York City in 1880, and Alliance was founded not long after as an educational institution for missionaries and those in ministry. Alliance graduates like pastor A. R. Bernard lead many New York churches.

The CMA provided significant financial support to the school when it was in trouble in recent years. It is considering continuing the programs of Alliance Theological Seminary, which is part of the university.

The school’s board voted on Thursday night to shut down Alliance University’s operations, and school leadership informed staff, faculty, and students on Friday and began layoffs. Alumni, even knowing the financial straits of the school, used the same word over and over in interviews: “shock.”

“This is very sad,” said Chris Smith, who graduated in 2010, worked on staff at the school in various capacities, and served on the school’s alumni board. “The texts, calls, FaceTimes, DMs [direct messages] I’m getting is a lot.”

“They had something so special,” said alumna Heather Beers-Dimitriadis. “That school changed …

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