BLOOMFIELD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- The future of a New Jersey college that has been around for more than 150 years is in flux.
Bloomfield College is facing a financial crisis and is at risk of closing. In an extraordinary move, the school is going public with its plea for help, CBS2's Kiran Dhillon reported Monday.
"I want to make sure that the community is aware of the severity of our financial situation and, really, it's a call for action," school president Marcheta P. Evans said.
Bloomfield College has been a staple in the community for 153 years. But now, the future of the predominantly Black and Hispanic institution that services underserved communities may be in jeopardy.
The school is asking for donations in order to survive.
"My students, if you pour into them, they'll pour back into the community because they stay in New Jersey," Evans said.
The college says enrollment has been down for the past several years, a fact exacerbated by the pandemic. Since fall 2019, there has been a 20% drop.
Since the school relies heavily on tuition for revenue, without help, the institution says it is can survive this year, but may be forced to close next year.
"Our students had to make choices about whether to continue their education or to come to college, and most of them, of course, chose their families where they had to work jobs or take care of siblings," Evans said.
The college adds more than 85% of its students are people of color with a median family income below $32,000, adding nearly 71% are eligible for the Pell Grant, a needs-based federal award.
Bloomfield College said it decided to go public with its financial challenges in an effort to attract major philanthropic donors and likeminded institutional partners. The school said the goal is to do whatever it can now to ensure the college stays open.
If the school closes, administrators say the impact will be felt throughout the community.
Student hope donors will step up.
"It would be heartbreaking to see a school that has been around for so long, you know, not be open anymore," Bianca Gomez said.
"If the school was to shut down, then it would be like my life didn't exist because I built my life around the campus and around the college," Nana Essel added.
They say the diversity on campus has been one of the best parts of their educational experience.
CBS2 reached out to New Jersey's Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, but it declined comment.
CBS2's Kiran Dhillon contributed to this report.
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