Philadelphia University of the Arts To Close In June

According to university President, Kerry Walk, the closure comes as a result of a decline in enrollment and a long-standing cash flow problem. 

By: May. 31, 2024
Philadelphia University of the Arts To Close In June
Enter Your Email to Unlock This Article

Plus, get the best of BroadwayWorld delivered to your inbox, and unlimited access to our editorial content across the globe.

Existing user? Just click login.

It was announced today that the University of the Arts in Philadelphia will close its doors in June. 

In an abrupt turn of events, the university's accrediting agency, The Middle States Commission on Higher Education, received notice on Wednesday that the historic institution would cease operations for good on June 7.

According to university President, Kelly Walk, the closure comes as a result of a decline in enrollment and a long-standing cash flow problem. 

This fall the school opened with 1,149 students, down from 2,038 in 2013. The issue with enrollment has grown over the years, with the number of students falling to 1,313 in the 2022-23 school year from 1,914 in the 2018-19 school year.

Over the same time period, the school admitted a fraction of incoming freshman, with that number down to 182 from 426.

The commission, which deemed the university's abrupt notification out of compliance with all standards, will move to withdraw certification from the university on Saturday.

The closure comes on the heels of the closure of another Philadelphia institution, Cabrini University which gave students a years notice of its closure. UArts students enrolled in the summer program have been given one week. 

As of Friday evening, staff and students hadn't received official notification of the closure, though university President Walk said that leadership is in the process of communicating with its students, faculty and staff about its plans.

Concerning the school's faculty, made up of about 700 individuals, a union representing the interests of UArts employees has expressed disappointment over the lack of communication. Less than four months ago, faculty and administration reached a tentative agreement on the first contract in the university's nearly 150-year history.

According to documents from The Middle States Commission on Higher Education the university failed to disclose the closure in a timely manner or plan a full exit strategy.

Of the process, Walk said, "We will have a small team wind down our operations and more importantly ensure our students are on a pathway to complete their degrees at our partner institutions and also to ensure we are able to support our faculty and staff through this difficult, indeed devastating, transition, Walk said. We find ourselves in this heartbreaking situation that is unimaginable to all of us and extremely difficult for all of us who love this very, very special university community."

According to Walk, they are partnering with several institutions, including Drexel, Temple and Moore College of Art & Design to ease the transition.

The university board of trustees will meet Saturday morning to decide next steps. 

Read the full story at The Philadelphia Inquirer.