University of the Arts announces sudden closure

June 2, 2024
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The University of the Arts, a private nonprofit institution in Philadelphia, announced late Friday that it would close within a week.

The institution’s announcement came hours after the Middle States Commission on Higher Education withdrew its accreditation, saying UArts had “failed to inform the commission of closure in a timely manner or to properly plan for closure with prior approval through substantive change.”

“We know that the news of UArts’ closure comes as a shock,” the university’s board chair, Judson Aaron, and president, Kerry Walk, said in a letter to the campus. “Like you, we are struggling to make sense of the present moment. But like many institutions of higher learning, UArts has been in a fragile financial state, with many years of declining enrollments, declining revenues, and increasing expenses.”

The officials said that the institution had “worked hard this year… to take steps that would secure the university’s sustainability,” but that “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 situation came to light very suddenly. Despite swift action, we were unable to bridge the necessary gaps.”

 Walk, who became the university’s president last year, was previously president of Marymount Manhattan College, which earlier this week was absorbed by Northeastern University. 

Several colleges in and around Philadelphia have ended independent operations in the last year. The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts said in January that its art school would close, and Cabrini University closed and Salus University merged into Drexel University in the middle of 2023.



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