Art College Shuts Down Suddenly Due to Financial Difficulties

A private art college in Philadelphia has announced the loss of its accreditation and the decision to shut down after nearly 150 years due to financial and enrollment challenges.

President Kerry Walk and Chair of the Board of Trustees Judson Aaron confirmed the closure date as June 7 in a joint message, following the accreditation withdrawal by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

The sudden announcement by the school’s leadership was preceded by unexpected financial burdens.

After being informed of the university’s planned closure, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education took the decision to revoke the institution’s accreditation. Additional accreditation issues were also cited by the commission.

Acknowledging the financial struggles faced by the University of the Arts, Walk and Aaron mentioned the ongoing decline in enrollment and revenue. They explained, “UArts has been grappling with financial challenges, much like many other educational institutions, leading to a delicate financial situation due to decreasing enrollments and revenues and rising expenses. Throughout this year, we have been working diligently with various stakeholders to ensure the university’s sustainability.”

A town hall meeting has been scheduled for June 3 to address concerns from students, faculty, and staff. Options for transferring to other educational institutions in Philadelphia, such as Temple University, Drexel University, and Moore College of Art and Design, will be discussed.

The University of the Arts becomes the third art school in Philadelphia to close within a decade. In January of this year, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts announced the discontinuation of its college programs after more than a decade. Additionally, in 2018, the Art Institute of Philadelphia lost its accreditation, and the Art Institute’s closure was announced in September.

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