MINNEAPOLIS - State education officials are promising help for students blindsided by the sudden closing of the McNally Smith College of Music.

McNally Smith administrators announced the move to faculty and students in communications that became public late Thursday. They say the college is closing because of financial problems, according to a post from the McNally Smith Alumni Facebook page.

Officials say the college in downtown St. Paul has been experiencing declining enrollment and revenue for several years.

Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE) Commissioner Larry Pogemiller released a statement Friday afternoon promising assistance for the 400 students impacted by the closing. Thirty eight of those students are set to graduate next week.

"The sudden closing of the McNally Smith College of Music has undoubtedly left students who have not completed their program wondering what options they may have." Pogemiller wrote. "We will work quickly with the school to secure students records, assist with transfers to other schools and mitigate financial hardship caused by the closing, as much as possible."

OHE is offering the following services for displaced McNally Smith students.

  • Retain all student records/provide student transcripts (Transcripts initially provided free of charge)
  • Coordinate student transfers
  • Work with McNally Smith to gather information on what articulation agreements or transfer pathways they have put in place for students to continue their education.
  • If no arrangements have been made, we will reach out to other institutions to determine their willingness to be an institutional partner to develop a path for the students displaced by the sudden closure of McNally Smith to continue their education and complete their program of study.
  • Provide students with contact information at the US Dept of Education to check if they are eligible for a closed school discharge of their federal loans.

McNally Smith administrators also say they are working with local and national universities on transfer options for students.

According to a letter from McNally President Harry Chalmiers that was sent to students, "For nearly 2 years we have been in the process of becoming a nonprofit college and we have been seeking funding necessary to establish the college on firm financial footing as a nonprofit institution. In spite of our best efforts, we have been unable to obtain this funding and the cash necessary to fund ongoing operations."