Essex County is home to a few local colleges + universities — and now, two of these schools have officially joining forces. Bloomfield College has now officially merged with Montclair State University and will operate under the new name, Bloomfield College of Montclair State University. This move comes after Montclair State helped provide financial relief to Bloomfield College to prevent it from closing down. The goal was to have the merger completed by June 30th, 2023 — and in the meantime, Bloomfield College would continue operating independently but will still work closely with Montclair State. The incorporation of a private college (Bloomfield) into a public university (Montclair State) is rare, and there will be a lot to iron out to ensure a smooth transition. As of June 15th, 2023, the merger has taken another step forward, and as of July 1st, 2023, the merger is official after Governor Murphy approved it. Read on to learn more about the Bloomfield College and Montclair State University merger.
Updates as of July 10th, 2023
The goal was to complete the merger between Bloomfield College and Montclair State University on or before June 30th, 2023 — and it was completed one day after on July 1st, 2023. Per Montclair Local, the merger was approved by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education at its June 21st-22nd meeting. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed the merger on June 30th, enabling the legislation. Bloomfield College of Montclair State University will maintain its 13 NCAA Division II athletics programs and remain the Bears, for at least the next year, unless otherwise directed by the NCAA — according to a release that was sent out.
Updates as of June 15th, 2023
Per Patch, New Jersey Senate and Assembly committees recently advanced a bill approving the merger between Montclair State University and Bloomfield College, with the Senate moving it on June 12th, 2023 and the Assembly moving theirs on June 5th, 2023. Full votes in the Legislature will still be needed — among other approvals from from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the U.S. Department of Education, Governor Phil Murphy, the state secretary of higher education, and the NCAA, per NJ.com. Administrators are still looking to approve the merger on or before June 30th, 2023.
Bloomfield College, located at 467 Franklin Street in Bloomfield, is one of the oldest private universities in the state of New Jersey — having been running for over 150 years. It has about 1,300 undergraduate students and is New Jersey’s “only four-year Predominantly Black Institution (PBI), as well as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) and Minority Serving Institution (MSI),” per its website.
Montclair State University, on the other hand, is a public school (located at 1 Normal Avenue in Montclair) with over 20,000 students enrolled. The school aims to make higher education more accessible, and for the 2021-2022 academic school year, 42% of students were the first in their families to attend college. What’s more, Montclair State is also New Jersey’s largest Hispanic-Serving Institution.
In the fall of 2021, Bloomfield College experienced major economic hardships that caused the school to seek out partnerships. Then, in March of 2022, Montclair State University provided Bloomfield with financial support in order to help ensure that the school could remain open for the 2022-2023 academic school year. Upon making this announcement, Bloomfield College also shared that it was working on collaborating with Montclair State to form some sort of a permanent partnership — though at the time, we didn’t know if that was going to be a merger or an affiliation, or perhaps something else.
On October 26th, 2022, the partnership has been announced as an official merger — complete with a name change for Bloomfield College.
Both schools announced in a joint statement back in October that the presidents of each school had been authorized by their Boards of Trustees to sign an Agreement and Plan of Merger. As part of this agreement, Bloomfield College will change its name to: Bloomfield College of Montclair State University. The goal was to have this merger complete by June 30th, 2023, and until then, Bloomfield College will operate independently but still collaborate closely with Montclair State.
Per the announcement, this also means that “Bloomfield students enrolled at the time of the merger will be able to continue their education without interruption and without additional costs. In addition, Montclair State University will make every effort to provide employment opportunities for Bloomfield College’s current employees.”
Bloomfield President Marcheta P. Evans was thrilled with this merger and the possibilities it will open up. “Bloomfield College of Montclair State University will support and serve our current and future students by providing a transformative educational experience with access to the University’s abundant resources,” Marcheta shared.
The two schools will keep ironing out the many details to make sure this transition is as seamless as possible — which does come with challenges, given that incorporating a private school into a public one is rare. Many New Jersey State Legislators are praising this move nonetheless, particularly the fact that both schools are minority-serving institutions.
We’re excited to see what the future holds for the new Bloomfield College of Montclair State University.