5 Colleges That Have Shut Down in Recent Years

  • Opening Intro -

    Small colleges are under siege with many simply unable to compete in a global educational market.

    Online learning has opened educational possibilities for students that did not exist a generation ago and many smaller colleges just are not able to adjust to the new paradigm.


Several studies and reports in recent years have demonstrated that small colleges and universities will face even greater challenges in the years ahead in a bid to stay afloat. Harvard’s Clayton Christensen predicts that about half of the 4,000 currently active colleges and universities in the US will be gone in about 15 years.

To that end we have highlighted five colleges that have been shuttered in recent years.

Atlantic Union College — When Atlantic Union College in Lancaster, Mass., closed its doors in 2011, it ended 129 years of continuous learning for this oldest of the Seventh-Day Adventist schools in the world. As far back as the 1990s, the college began experiencing financial problems with its high rate of student loan defaults. Its financial problems persisted and the school was placed on probation in 2003 , then closed in 2011 when its accreditation was pulled. Although AUC is gone, the school has since been replaced by the Northeast Evangelism Training School to train church members in lay ministry.

Dana College — Located in Blair, Nebraska, Dana College shut its doors in 2010, ending 126 years of service. Founded by the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Association in America, the college started off as a preparatory school before awarding associate degrees in the 1910s and its first bachelor’s degrees in the 1930s. In the 2000s, the college began facing financial problems and was put up for sale in 2010. A for-profit corporation attempted to buy the school, but the regional accrediting association rejected that move, effectively forcing the college’s closure.

Lambuth University — Jackson, Tennessee, was home to Lambuth University, founded as the Memphis Conference Female Institute in 1843. Later, the school was renamed for a Methodist missionary. Like many small colleges, Lambuth ran into financial problems that were exacerbated by the last recession. In 2011, the regional accrediting association decided not to renew accreditation, leading to the college’s closure. This story does have a happy ending: the University of Memphis acquired the school and renamed it the University of Memphis — Jackson.

McIntosh College — Located in Dover, New Hampshire, McIntosh College opened its doors in 1896 as Dover Business College. In 1902, David McIntosh, CPA, purchased the college and renamed it. In its later years McIntosh was acquired by for-profit Career Education Corporation, which announced that it would close McIntosh and eight other educational institutions. Its owner attempted to find a new buyer, but decided to close the school in 2009 when new ownership was not forthcoming.

St. Paul’s College — Located in rural Lawrenceville, Virginia, St. Paul’s College shut its doors on June 30, 2013. The school was one of more than 100 historically black colleges and universities that have served primarily Americans of African ancestry since the 1800s. Founded in 1888 and affiliated with the Episcopal Church, St. Paul’s fell into academic probation and then lost its accreditation in 2012, hastening its decline. St. Augustine College in Raleigh, NC, had considered acquiring the college, but backed away when it determined that it would not be fiscally responsible for the school to do so.

Looking Ahead

If Christensen is correct, the higher education landscape will begin to change dramatically in the coming years with perhaps only the strongest public and private universities remaining. Some colleges will survive through mergers, perhaps becoming much stronger institutions as a result. In any case, today’s primary education students may find that their college choices are dramatically different than what their parents once enjoyed.

See AlsoDana College Announces Pending Closure.


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Categories: Academics