UMass Amherst said it's talking with Hampshire College about closer collaboration, after Hampshire announced it's seeking a strategic partner in the face of financial difficulties.
Both schools are part of the Five College Consortium, which also includes Smith, Amherst and Mount Holyoke.
UMass spokesperson Ed Blaguszewski said it's in everyone's best interest that Hampshire survives.
He said UMass has had preliminary conversations about a "deeper collaboration" with Hampshire, but that it's too soon to characterize what that might look like.
"I don't think it's wise to speculate on who may emerge as a partner over time," Blaguszewski said. "I think we want to be supportive of them pursuing their process."
Blaguszewski said Hampshire needs to make decisions about its future before deeper discussions can take place.
A spokesperson for Hampshire, John Courtmanche, said in an email Wednesday that the college "can't name" any of the schools "at this stage."
"Hampshire has had contact with a range of colleges and universities," he said. "Hampshire hopes to have a partner identified by June , and then work with our college community and our partner on a transition plan that will begin immediately thereafter and continue through the college’s 50th anniversary in June 2020."
Hampshire officials said they will decide by Friday whether to accept new students for next year.