Mount Ida College closes: Dental hygiene students and professors stranded

April 20, 2018
Amber Auger, RDH, comments on the closing of a dental hygiene program at Mount Ida College.

By Amber Auger, RDH, MPH

Imagine finishing the spring semester of dental hygiene school when you receive an email stating that your school has been purchased. This is exactly what happened to Mount Ida College students. According to the Boston Globe, the deal “was done in darkness, without public disclosure or debate.”1 University of Massachusetts Amherst purchased the college, which is located in the Boston suburb of Newton, with no intention of continuing the dental hygiene curriculum. This acquisition leaves professors and students stranded.

At press deadline, Regis College was negotiating to take over the dental hygiene program at Mount Ida.

The Boston Herald reported, “Mount Ida College faculty members said they were ‘shocked’ when the administration sent them emails Friday notifying them the school would close at the end of the spring term because it was tens of millions of dollars in debt.”2 The faculty was not informed about the terrible financial situation the college was in. Despite how long the professors have been a part of the Mount Ida team, only three months of severance have been offered to tenured professors.

Students have received communication from Antoinette Hays, president of Regis College, which is based in Weston, Mass. Her email states that Regis College was considering taking over the veterinary technology and dental hygiene program. Regis intended to visit the college, meet the students, and determine if they can accommodate the students and faculty.

At this time, Regis purchasing the program and utilizing the current Mount Ida dental hygiene instructors seems to be the best option for everyone involved.

The state's Department of Higher Education hosted a hearing in Boston last Tuesday to allow faculty, students, and others to air their grievances.

Monica Gaviria, who is planning on graduating from her dental hygiene program this spring, describes this shutdown as a “tragedy.” The closing of the clinic after completion of this semester results in students who have their future placed on hold.

The situation for other students is not as clear. Student Haley Falzone is completing her first year of dental hygiene classes at Mount Ida, and she told WFXT, an independent station in the Boston area, ""It’s really frustrating because this is the first year I found out I loved what I’m going to be doing hopefully for the rest of my life and I really loved my teachers and now none of them have jobs."

In her interview, Haley added, "We were so excited to finish the semester because it was our first year of dental hygiene class. We’re like 'Yeah we’re almost done with clinic' and next thing you know we get this email we have no where to go now.'"

An ADHA spokesperson said, “ADHA has been in contact with the (Mount Ida) college admissions office who told us today that they are working with the dental hygiene students to guide them to other dental hygiene programs in Massachusetts. In addition, the college is also in conversations with another college that may be interested in teaching the vet tech and dental hygiene programs through an agreement with UMass Amherst. We are working with our members in Massachusetts to offer support and guidance to the students as well.”

Dental hygiene schools in Kentucky and Louisana recently closed, howver the ADHA reports they have not seen a trend towards closure of accredited dental hygiene proframs even though a few programs for a variety of reasons.

Mount Ida was founded in 1899 with a focus on arts and science. “The school’s 1,450 students (expect dental hygiene and veterinary majors, as the school does not offer these majors) will automatically be accepted for fall enrollment at UMass Dartmouth — more than 50 miles away.”1 Hopefully, Regis will meet the needs of the passionate dental hygiene students and provide a solution for them to complete their degree.

Amber Auger, RDH, MPH, is a hygienist with experience in multiple clinical settings, including facilities abroad. Amber obtained a master’s degree in public health from the University of New England and a bachelor’s in dental hygiene from the University of New Haven. She holds a part-time position at an elite dental office in Boston. Amber Auger is a key opinion leader for several dental companies, speaker and published author, and can be contacted at


  1. Vennochi, Joan. Boston Globe. Available at: April 9, 2018.
  2. Szaniszlo, Marie.Mount Ida faculty ‘betrayed in debt deal with UMass. Boston Herald. Available at: April 10, 2018.