Urbana University said they will close their campus at the end of the semester in May due to the combination of challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and years of low enrollment.
The school’s CEO Dr. Christopher Washington took to Facebook Monday to discuss the closure personally.
“I don’t think anyone seen this coming as fast as it did . The calamity of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is affecting our entire nation and in fact our whole world has caused tremendous disruption and uncertainty in higher education,” Washington said in a video he made in his home.
Urbana University – a branch campus of Franklin University specializing in liberal arts – is the first college to close its doors because of the public health emergency.
“Our highest priority is to ensure students experience a seamless transition of their academic studies and that our branch campus employees have the resources to make their transition as well,” said Dr. David Decker, President, Franklin University. “As institutions of higher education across the country struggle to identify ways to stay open, we will do all we can to help students identify the best alternative forward to fulfill their education goals in an affordable manner.”
The campus currently serves 1,254 students, 75% of which are enrolled in off-campus programs, including College Credit Plus, Post-Baccalaureate Education, MBA-Healthcare, and the London Correctional Institute.
“These students will continue their studies uninterrupted and unchanged, as their instruction does not occur on the Urbana campus,” the statement said.
The remaining 350 students who either live nearby or commute to the campus will have the option to finish their programs online through Franklin University or transfer their credits to other institutions. Students who prefer to transfer to other institutions will be assisted in doing so.
The closure affects 111 full-time employees, the university said. A number of full-time employees who work at the branch campus will be offered employment at Franklin University. Those who will not continue at Franklin will be offered severance packages that include outplacement assistance.
While Ohio governor Mike DeWine has announced the slow reopening of businesses beginning next month, K-12 schools will remain closed for the rest of the year. It is unclear if the same will happen to colleges and universities in the state.
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Samantha Witwer is a reporter at The Ohio Star.
Photo “Urbana University” by Urbana University.