In an unexpected turn of events, the Long Island Business Institute (LIBI), a private educational establishment with locations in Commack, Flushing and Manhattan, is set to halt operations of its educational programs commencing Monday next week. The exact cause for the imminent closure remains undisclosed as institute officials remained unreachable for comments, according to both Newsday and Long Island Business News.
For the past 54 years, LIBI has diligently served the academic community, offering two-year associate degrees focused primarily on building industry-specific skills in areas such as court reporting, hospitality management, and accounting. The educational vacuum created will impact approximately 500 students currently enrolled in these programs.
Although the future might seem uncertain, a ray of hope emanates for students from the neighboring Empire State University. This SUNY institution is extending its arms to welcome the students of LIBI for the upcoming spring academic term and beyond. Empire’s university Provost Nathan Gonyea expressed his concern over the closure but was optimistic about their ability to support the students in achieving their degree completion. A significant number, with 400 of the 500 students affected showing interest in joining Empire’s ranks, according to Empire spokeswoman Cherie Haughney.
LIBI President Monica Foote acknowledged the support from Empire State University as crucial in safeguarding the academic future of the students. The underlying symbiosis reiterates the long-standing partnership between the two educational institutions, with Empire State University standing as SUNY’s solitary online establishment.
The failure to secure federal Title IV funds for student aid has cast a shadow over LIBI. As stated by Mac Powell, president of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, the institute’s inability to obtain these funds necessitated “self-funding,” thereby contributing to the existing fiscal predicament. Consequently, LIBI found itself entangled in a regulatory quagmire following a lapse in their accreditation status.
Though the recent granting of an initial accreditation status by the commission triggered hopes of resurrection, their future hangs in the balance, pending the acquisition of federal funds. Gaining the needed accreditation raises questions about the institute’s ability to bounce back into operation or if they will face indefinite closure.
On another note, Five Towns College President David Cohen both affirmed and contextualized the tribulations faced by LIBI in light of the challenges associated with operating colleges on Long Island. Factors such as dwindling enrollment numbers, steadily inflating operational costs, and the complexity of federal regulatory compliance are crippling many educational institutions in the region. Cohen cited the closure of several colleges, including Dowling College, a branch of St. John’s University, and Briarcliff College, as testimonial evidence of this disturbing trend in the higher education sector on Long Island.
Despite the anticipated closure, support has amplified from different quarters to ensure an uninterrupted academic path for LIBI’s students. In addition to Empire State University’s efforts to accommodate impacted students, the institute’s court-reporting program had previously shifted to Five Towns College in Dix Hills last December.
In the wake of these unfortunate events, Empire State University President, Lisa Vollendorf, affirmed her institute’s commitment to facilitating a smooth transition for LIBI students, particularly those enrolled in accounting, business management, hospitality management, office technology, and office technology programs.
As Long Island awaits the final bell at the Long Island Business Institute, the legacy of this long-standing institution persists – a legacy characterized by over five decades of commitment to skill-building, academic excellence, and community service.