Closed Colleges: List, Statistics, and Major Closures

The number of public and nonprofit college closures keeps ticking higher. Here are the notable closures and statistics about closed colleges.
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Updated on April 9, 2024
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Data Summary

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    At least 54 public or nonprofit colleges have closed, merged, or announced closures or mergers since March 2020.
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    We estimate that roughly 41,446 students have been impacted by private nonprofit college closures since 2020.
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    Campus closures peaked in the years leading up to the pandemic, driven by private for-profit college closures.[1]
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    Nearly 80% of colleges closed between 2004-2020 were for-profit schools.[2]
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    Just over half of students who experienced a college closure did not re-enroll (52.9%).Note Reference [2]
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    7 in 10 students impacted by a college closure experienced an abrupt closure.Note Reference [2]
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    For-profit colleges are far more likely to close abruptly than public and nonprofit colleges.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought economic challenges to nearly every industry, including higher education. Campuses temporarily shut down to help contain the virus, and some struggled to re-open when lockdowns lifted.

But higher education was experiencing financial challenges before the pandemic, from dwindling enrollment to rising tuition to doubts about the value of a degree.

When a college closes, it affects students' likelihood to re-enroll in a program — especially if a school closes abruptly, leaving students in the lurch.

This report lists major college closures since the start of the pandemic. It also covers college closure trends in the past decade and discusses what happens to students when colleges close.

List of Notable College Closures and Mergers Since March 2020

Here are some noteworthy college closures and mergers that have happened or were announced since March 15, 2020.

  • 33 public or private nonprofit schools or campuses on our list have closed or announced planned closures.
  • 21 public or private nonprofit schools on our list have merged with other universities.

As we'll explore later, for-profit colleges tend to close at much higher rates than public and nonprofit schools. To keep our list succinct, we mainly focus on public and nonprofit colleges and only include larger for-profit schools that have sparked particular controversy.

2025

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Fall - Bluffton University, Ohio

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 745
  • Primary Reason: Mutual benefit; merging with University of Findlay

Summer - Fontbonne University, Missouri

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 944
  • Primary Reason: Enrollment, Financial

2024

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Summer - Salus University, Pennsylvania

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 1,100
  • Primary Reason: Mutual Benefit; merging with Drexel University

Summer - Lincoln Christian University, Illinois

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 593
  • Primary Reason: Financial, merging with Ozark Christian College

July - Goddard College, Vermont

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 220
  • Primary Reason: Enrollment, Financial

June - Woodbury University, California

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 943
  • Primary Reason: Mutual Benefit, Financial, merging with the University of Redlands

June - Johnson University Florida, Florida

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 142
  • Primary Reason: Enrollment, Financial

June - Cabrini University, Pennsylvania

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 2,267
  • Primary Reason: Financial

May - Birmingham-Southern College, Alabama

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 975
  • Primary Reason: Financial

May - The College of Saint Rose, New York

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 2,786
  • Primary Reason: Financial

May - Notre Dame College, Ohio

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 1,444
  • Primary Reason: Enrollment, Financial

May - Magdalen College, New Hampshire

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 59
  • Primary Reason: Enrollment

April - Oak Point University, Illinois

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 429
  • Primary Reason: Enrollment, Pandemic

April - Hodges University, Florida

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 443
  • Primary Reason: Financial

Spring - St. John's University, Staten Island, New York

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 861
  • Primary Reason: Enrollment

Spring - St. Augustine College, Illinois

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 1,163
  • Primary Reason: Mutual Benefit; merging with Lewis University

Spring - Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Indiana

  • School Type: Public nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 27,690
  • Primary Reason: Mutual Benefit; separating into different institutions

January - Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences, Pennsylvania

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 1,816
  • Primary Reason: Mutual Benefit; merging with Saint Joseph's University

2023

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December - Alderson Broaddus University, West Virginia

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 767
  • Primary Reason: Financial

December - Alliance University (Formerly Nyack College), New York

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 2,479
  • Primary Reason: Accreditation Issues

December - American University of Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 398
  • Primary Reason: Financial

November - Multnomah University, Oregon

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 655
  • Primary Reason: Financial; merging with Jessup University

September - The Art Institutes, Multiple campuses

  • School Type: Private for-profit
  • Enrollment: 1,385
  • Primary Reason: Financial, Pandemic

Fall - Compass College of Film and Media, Michigan

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 74
  • Primary Reason: Mutual Benefit; merging with Calvin University

August - Medaille University, New York

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 2,937
  • Primary Reason: Enrollment, Financial

August - Presentation College, South Dakota

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 577
  • Primary Reason: Financial

August - Hussian College, Multiple campuses including ones in Tennessee and Pennsylvania

  • School Type: Private for-profit
  • Enrollment: 829
  • Primary Reason: Financial

June - Bloomfield College, New Jersey

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 1,300
  • Primary Reason: Financial

June - Presidio Graduate School, California

  • School Type: Private nonprofit, graduate school
  • Enrollment: 152
  • Primary Reason: Financial; merging with the University of Redlands

May - Cardinal Stritch University, Wisconsin

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 1,365
  • Primary Reason: Enrollment, Financial, Pandemic

May - Holy Names University, California

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 1,015
  • Primary Reason: Enrollment, Financial

May - Iowa Wesleyan University, Iowa

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 921
  • Primary Reason: Financial

Spring - Finlandia University, Michigan

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 424
  • Primary Reason: Enrollment, Financial

Spring - Cazenovia College, New York

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 746
  • Primary Reason: Enrollment, Financial, Pandemic

February - ASA College, New York

  • School Type: Private for-profit
  • Enrollment: 2,745
  • Primary Reason: Accreditation issues

January - Chatfield College, Ohio

  • School Type: Private nonprofit, two-year
  • Enrollment: 152
  • Primary Reason: Enrollment, Pandemic; closing to become Chatfield Edge nonprofit agency

2022

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December - Quest College, Texas

  • School Type: For-profit, two-year
  • Enrollment: 299
  • Primary Reason: Financial

Fall - Stratford University, Virginia

  • School Type: Private for-profit
  • Enrollment: 1,397
  • Primary Reason: Accreditation issues

August - Marymount California University, California

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 514
  • Primary Reason: Enrollment, Financial, Pandemic; failed merger with Saint Leo University in Florida[3]

July - San Francisco Art Institute, California

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 70
  • Primary Reason: Financial

July - Mills College, California

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 817
  • Primary Reason: Financial; merged with Northeastern University

July - Sierra Nevada University, Nevada

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 631
  • Primary Reason: Enrollment, Pandemic; merged with University of Nevada, Reno[4]

June - DeVry University, Several campuses nationwide

  • School Type: Private for-profit
  • Primary Reason: Unclear; DeVry closed 22 campuses between 2020-2022, including 15 in June 2022, after ED approved $71.7 million in borrower defense discharges for misled students.[5]

June - Wave Leadership College, Virginia

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 33
  • Primary Reason: Enrollment, Pandemic

June - University of the Sciences, Pennsylvania

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 2,420
  • Primary Reason: Mutual Benefit; merged with Saint Joseph's University

May - St. Louis Christian College, Missouri

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 62
  • Primary Reason: Enrollment; merged with Central Christian College of the Bible

May - Lincoln College, Illinois

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 888
  • Primary Reason: Pandemic, Enrollment, Financial

2021

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December - Ohio Valley University, West Virginia

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 273
  • Primary Reason: Financial

October - Vista College, Texas

  • School Type: Private for-profit, two-year
  • Enrollment: 2,945
  • Primary Reason: Financial

August - Becker College, Massachusetts

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 1,675
  • Primary Reason: Pandemic, Enrollment[6]

August - Concordia College, New York

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 1,129
  • Primary Reason: Financial, Pandemic; merged with Iona College in New Rochelle

August - Independence University, Utah

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 11,578
  • Primary Reason: Unclear; sudden closure

July - Judson College, Alabama

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: Roughly 80, per school website
  • Primary Reason: Financial

July - Ancilla College, Indiana

  • School Type: Private nonprofit, two-year
  • Enrollment: 344
  • Primary Reason: Mutual Benefit; merged with Marian University

July - Martin Methodist College, Tennessee

  • School Type: Private, nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 885
  • Primary Reason: Mutual Benefit; merged with public University of Tennessee to become UT Southern

July - Wesley College, Delaware

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 1,066
  • Primary Reason: Enrollment, Financial; merged with Delaware State University

June - Pacific Northwest College of Art, Oregon

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 481
  • Primary Reason: Mutual Benefit; merged with Willamette University

2020

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August - Holy Family College, Wisconsin

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 440
  • Primary Reason: Enrollment, Financial, Pandemic

July - Marlboro College, Vermont

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 154
  • Primary Reason: Enrollment; merged with Emerson College[7]

June - Pine Manor College, Massachusetts

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 249
  • Primary Reason: Financial; merged with Boston College

May - Nebraska Christian College, Nebraska

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 85, per college website
  • Primary Reason: Enrollment, Financial

Spring - MacMurray College, Illinois

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 588
  • Primary Reason: Financial

Spring - Urbana University, Ohio

  • School Type: Private nonprofit
  • Enrollment: 1,254
  • Primary Reason: Financial, Pandemic

About This List

We found schools' most recently reported fall enrollment in the National Center for Education Statistics' College Navigator Database.[8] If no data were available, we used figures from the school's website or linked news release.

We also include a reason for each closure or merger. Here's what each means:

  • Accreditation Issues: A college lost accreditation, preventing it from enrolling new students.
  • Financial: A college closed due to financial struggle (e.g., lack of funding).
  • Enrollment: A declining number of students over the years strained the institution's feasibility.
  • Mutual Benefit: Two or more institutions mutually benefited from merging (e.g., schools shared complementary programs)
  • Pandemic: The college closed due to strain primarily caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

College Closures Over Time

The State Higher Education Executive Office (SHEEO) and the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center (NSCRC) analyzed college campus closures from July 2004-June 2020. Out of the nearly 12,000 college campuses that closed in this period, the researchers looked at a sample of 467 schools. They found:Note Reference [2]

  • 78% of closed colleges were for-profit schools.
  • 21% were private nonprofit schools.
  • Less than 1% were public, and most of these were online programs.
  • About 53% of closed colleges were two-year, and 47% were four-year.

The SHEEO/NSCRC report cites loss of accreditation and financial challenges as the primary reasons for-profit colleges close.Note Reference [2]

We plotted the data the researchers collected over time below.

  • Campus closures started ticking up after 2012 and peaked in 2018.
  • In the years with the most closures, for-profit campus closures overwhelmed those of nonprofit and public schools.

Behind the Numbers

The numbers in the graph above represent a sample of all college closures. So, this graph is useful for finding trends in college closures, not for counting the total number of college closures.

Abrupt College Closures

Closing colleges may create written transition plans for students. Unfortunately, many closures are abrupt, meaning a school closes without warning or a transfer plan for students.

Among the 467 school closures SHEEO and NSCRC analyzed:Note Reference [2]

  • Almost one-third of college closures (31.5%) happened abruptly.
  • For-profit colleges are far more likely to close abruptly than public and nonprofit colleges.
  • Schools that closed abruptly served larger student bodies than those that closed in an orderly manner, on average (682 vs. 134 in average total enrollment).
  • 7 in 10 students impacted by a college closure experienced an abrupt closure.

What Happens After a College Closes

In the SHEEO/NSCRC study:Note Reference [2]

  • Most students who experienced a college closure did not re-enroll in another program (52.9%).
  • Students who experienced an abrupt closure had lower re-enrollment and completion rates than students who experienced an orderly closure.

Not completing a college degree could affect the likelihood of defaulting on a student loan. Closed colleges are more likely to enroll larger proportions of students of color, women, and Pell Grant recipientsNote Reference [2] — groups that carry more student loan debt on average.

If you're a student, there are steps you can take if your college closes, like finishing your program at another school or possibly getting a discharge for federal student loans.