Financial pressure from virus shutters university in Ohio


URBANA, Ohio (AP) — Urbana University will be permanently closing its campus, making it the first Ohio college to fold as a result of financial pressure from the coronavirus pandemic.

The university’s decision to close the small, liberal arts campus near Columbus will impact 350 students and more than 100 full-time faculty, according to a statement from Franklin University.

Urbana was acquired by Franklin University, a private nonprofit college, in 2014 and has operated under the school as a branch campus.

“As institutions of higher education across the country struggle to identify ways to stay open, we will do all we can to help students identify the best alternative forward to fulfill their education goals in an affordable manner,” Franklin University President David Decker said in the announcement.

Close to 75% of the university’s students do not attend classes on campus and will therefore continue taking online classes at Franklin.

“These students will continue their studies uninterrupted and unchanged, as their instruction does not occur on the Urbana campus,” the statement said.

The remaining students who either live nearby or commute to the campus will have the option to finish their programs online through Franklin University or transfer their credits to other institutions.

The school also said that a number of employees who have been impacted will be offered employment at Franklin University while others will be offered severance packages.

Gov. Mike DeWine ordered the temporary closure of schools in mid-March as the virus began to spread through the state.

While the governor has announced the slow reopening of businesses beginning next month, K-12 schools will remain closed for the rest of the year. It is unclear if the same will happen to colleges and universities in the state.

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