Mills College Board of Trustees Approves Merger With Northeastern University

In March 2021, Mills College, a liberal arts educational institution for women in Oakland, California, that was founded in 1852, announced plans to end degree programs and transition to an academic institute. (See WIAReport post.) The college has faced financial difficulties for several years, had cut several academic programs, and had deferred faculty salary increases. In 2018, the college cut tuition in half.

This past June, Northeastern Univerity in Boston stepped in with a new proposal that would maintain Mills College as a degree-granting institution under the global umbrella of Northeastern University.

The Save Mills College Coalition, a group of students, faculty, alumnae, and other friends of the college contended that the college had the resources to continue operations without the merger. It filed a petition in Alameda County Superior Court and an injunction was issued to delay the board of trustees from voting on the merger. The court recently lifted this injunction.

On September 14, the board of trustees of Mills College approved a merger of the women’s college with Northeastern University. The merger is expected to take effect on or about July 1, 2022, subject to regulatory and other approvals. When completed, Mills will become Mills College at Northeastern University, and the campus will be gender inclusive.

Elizabeth Hillman, president of Mills College stated that “a key next step in the transition process is for Mills and Northeastern faculty and staff to work jointly to develop the undergraduate and graduate degree programs that Northeastern will offer on the Oakland campus through Mills College at Northeastern University and otherwise. Degree programs will leverage the strengths of both Mills and Northeastern and will be relevant to both students and the employer community. Also, faculty and staff from both Mills and Northeastern will collaborate to further develop a Mills Institute to carry on the Mills legacy of advancing women’s leadership and empowering BIPOC and first-generation students. Northeastern has committed seed money to launch and fund the Institute.”


Filed Under: NewsWomen's Colleges


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