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US News: 150-year-old Art School Suddenly Closed, Citing Financial Troubles

US News: 150-year-old Art School Suddenly Closed, Citing Financial Troubles

Due to persistent financial and enrollment problems, a private art institution in Philadelphia has announced that it has lost its accreditation and will be closing its doors after over 150 years of operation.

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education’s withdrawal of the art school’s accreditation led to its closure on June 7, as stated in a joint letter sent on Friday by University of the Arts President Kerry Walk and Chair of the Board of Trustees Judson Aaron.

According to Art school administrators, the unexpected turn of events surprised them and resulted in “significant, unanticipated expenses.”

As soon as the University of the Arts informed the commission that it intended to close, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education declared on Friday that it was removing the institution’s accreditation. It also included a long list of other concerns regarding the school’s accreditation status.

It was no secret, according to Walk and Aaron, that the University of the Arts was having financial difficulties.

“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,” they stated.

“We have worked hard this year alongside many of you to take steps that would secure the University’s sustainability.”

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An overflow crowd sits on the steps of the University of the Arts watching the Philadelphia Mummers Parade on January 1, 2005, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Walk and Aaron said that a town hall meeting for staff, educators, and students is scheduled for June 3. Transfers to other Philadelphia universities, such as Temple University, Drexel University, and Moore College of Art and Design, are reportedly possible for students.

In the last ten years, the University of the Arts has become the third Philadelphia art school to close. After more than a decade of operation, the private art college Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts announced in January that it was discontinuing its academic programs.

As per USA Today – The Art Institute of Philadelphia’s accreditation was revoked by the commission in 2018, and the broader college system declared in September that all of its remaining institutions will close as well.

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