College Debt: School Bernie Sanders' Wife Once Ran Is Forced to Shut Down

Image: Buildings and property of Burlington College in Burlington, Vt.
Buildings and property of Burlington College in Burlington, Vermont, on Feb. 22, 2015.Wilson Ring / AP

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/ Source: Associated Press
By Corky Siemaszko

The tiny Vermont college that Bernie Sanders' wife used to run is going out of business — done-in by a $10 million real estate deal that she spearheaded.

Burlington College, which had been crushed beneath weight of the property purchase made in 2010 while Jane Sanders was college president, will close at the end of the month, the college confirmed on Monday.

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and his wife Jane Sanders, wave after a campaign rally Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in Louisville, Ky.Charlie Riedel / AP

"These hurdles are insurmountable at this time," Dean of Operations and Advancement Coralee Holm said in a statement. "It is with a great sense of loss to the educational community that Burlington College's progressive and unique educational model will no longer be available to students."

In a letter to students and parents, College President Carol Moore said the closure brought a "deep sense of loss and sadness." Current students, she said, will be able to transfer credits and continue their education at a neighboring college.

There was no immediate reaction from Jane Sanders.

When NBC News sought comment from the Democratic presidential candidate — who has called for making public colleges and universities tuition free — campaign communications director Michael Briggs emailed back a one-word response: "No."

Determined to double the then-200 student enrollment by 2020, Jane Sanders pushed to purchase the 32-acre parcel of land along Lake Champlain from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington.

Sanders, who had been president since 2004, left the private liberal arts college in 2011.

Buildings and property of Burlington College in Burlington, Vermont, on Feb. 22, 2015.Wilson Ring / AP

Four years later, Burlington College — desperate to get its books back in the black — took a huge loss when it sold the land to a developer for $7.65 million. It was not enough the save the school.

In April, the college's lender informed them the line of credit would not be renewed. And on Friday, the college's Board of Trustees agreed to shutter the 44-year-old school.

On Saturday, the last class to graduate from Burlington College collected their diplomas.