Philadelphia’s University of the Arts Shuts Down After 150 Years

United States North America Higher Education News by Erudera News Jun 04, 2024

Philadelphia's University of the Arts

The University of the Arts, a private arts institution in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has announced abrupt closure after nearly 150 years of operation. School officials said the institution will close its doors as of June 7, 2024.

Students and other University of the Arts community members heard about the closure from an article published in the Philadelphia Inquirer on Friday, May 31. Later, the school released an official statement announcing the decision, Erudera.com reports.

“With deepest sadness, we must confirm that the University of the Arts will close on June 7, 2024. The Board of Trustees formally voted on June 1 to approve the closure,” UArts said in a statement this past Sunday on June 2, pointing out “the situation came to light very suddenly.”

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education withdrew UArts accreditation on June 1. In a letter to President Kerry Walk, the first woman to lead the university, the commission said the institution has not adhered to the commission’s procedures and requests for reports, plans, and other information.

The reasons behind this closure include a lack of enrollment, which has resulted in declining income and increasing expenses. Figures on the university’s website show nearly 1,300 students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs. Enrollment at the university, which offered about 40 majors, has dropped from 2,038 in 2013.

“...UArts has been in a fragile financial state, with many years of declining enrollments, declining revenues, and increasing expenses. We have worked hard this year alongside many of you to take steps that would secure the University’s sustainability.

Unfortunately, however, we could not overcome the ultimate challenge we faced: with a cash position that has steadily weakened, we could not cover significant, unanticipated expenses,” the school said.

School officials promised to help students switch to other institutions in the area.

No New Admissions and Summer Classes, Decision Sparks Protests

According to the university, the closure means no longer delivering summer classes, no longer accepting new students in the fall, and continuing to support the current students to make progress with their degrees with the help of Temple University, Drexel University, and Moore College of Art and Design.

The university planned to host a separate town hall meeting with its students and staff on June 3 to respond to their questions and concerns while stressing the school has done everything in its power to manage the crisis and avoid this situation.

Nonetheless, the meeting was canceled on Monday afternoon, as students and some faculty began protesting outside the school’s administration building, expressing concerns over this decision.

“We know you are heartbroken and frustrated about our impending closure on Friday, June 7. As the situation continues to unfold rapidly, we cannot adequately answer your questions today,” the University of the Arts told NBC10.

UArts was founded in 1876 and is one of the oldest arts schools in the US. Of the 1,300 enrolled students, women outnumber men, 65 percent and 33 percent, respectively.

The school is located in Philadelphia’s arts district and has six academic buildings, three residence halls, and 11 exhibition or gallery spaces on campus.

According to the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO), on average, about one university per week announced it would close or merge with another institution this year.

Image source: University of the Arts website.

Read Also:

>> University of Lynchburg to Close 17 Academic Programs, 40 Staff Members Will Lose Jobs

>> University of Antelope Valley in California Announces Closure

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