Two private New England liberal arts colleges have been put on probation by the regional accreditor in the last week.

Newbury College in Brookline and the College of St. Joseph in Rutland, Vermont were recently "placed on a probation period of up to two years for failing to meet a standard on institutional resources" by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education at the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, according to Inside Higher Ed.

Paul Reville, former state secretary of education under Governor Deval Patrick, said the oversight is necessary to prevent abrupt closures like Mount Ida College's sudden shuttering earlier this year. Officials from Mount Ida announced in May that its campus would be acquired by UMass Amherst, a decision that was criticized by both students, parents, and state officials for its lack of transparency.

"I think this is a sort of welcome reaction, really, to the struggles of some other institutions — notably Mount Ida that we had recently — where institutions have, with relatively little oversight of state or regional authorities, been allowed to slump into such a predicament that they've had to suddenly close out," Reville said on Boston Public Radio Wednesday.

"I think everybody in the wake of some of those crises has said that there needs to be tighter oversight," he continued. "There are a lot of yellow flags that go up before an institution has to close."

Reville said yellow flags could include slumping enrollment or questionable finances — signs suggesting the college may have trouble remaining viable in the future. He said keeping state and local governments in the loop when colleges are in danger of failing allows for plans to be put in place to mitigate the impact on current students.

"It's a welcome thing that authorities are looking out for the interests of students and communities in the process," Reville said.