Marlboro College

MARLBORO, Vt. — Marlboro College announced Friday that it will sell its 500-acre campus to Democracy Builders, a nonprofit organization focused on civic education and advocacy.

Facing financial difficulties, the college announced last fall that it was exploring a merger with Emerson College in Boston. The two colleges have approved a provisional agreement, with the expectation that they will close on the final contract July 1, according to a statement on Marlboro College’s website.

The campus will become home to Democracy Builders’ “Degrees of Freedom” program — an early-college, late-high school program that offers students in grades 11-14 a fully-funded and career-targeted degree, the program’s website says.

The organization will use the campus “for an innovative new model of higher education that will dramatically reduce costs and improve outcomes for low-income and first generation students in particular,” Marlboro College said in a news release Thursday.

Democracy Builders also runs a network of 21 public charter schools where civic education and engagement are a stated part of the purpose.

Marlboro College’s news release said the college leadership is glad the campus will continue to host a higher-education institution. The offer was chosen by a campus working group made up of faculty, staff, students and a town representative.