Sweet Briar College's board of directors voted to close the school at the end of the academic year over financial issues.
The board's vote Friday was just announced by the college and is due to "insurmountable financial challenges," according to a press release. The college, located just north of Lynchburg, blamed declining enrollment in a rural, private, liberal arts, women-only college. It also cited an increase in the tuition discount rate needed to enroll each new class as a financial challenge.
The school is working to help current students transfer to other colleges and universities and will be holding college fairs after spring break.
"This is a sad day for the entire Sweet Briar College community," said Paul G. Rice, SBC board chair. "The board closely examined the College's financial situation and weighed it against our obligations to current and prospective students, parents, faculty and staff, alumnae, donors and friends. We voted to act now to cease academic operations responsibly, allowing us to place students at other academic institutions, to assist faculty and staff with the transition and to conduct a more orderly winding down of academic operations."
The college will officially close on August 25 after summer classes are completed. The last commencement ceremony will be held on May 16 and a final on-campus Reunion Weekend will take place May 29-31.
"While the College has long been part of my life, as my wife is a 1969 graduate, my role as president has taken on more meaning than I could ever describe," President James F. Jones Jr. said. "The board, some key alumnae and I have worked diligently to find a solution to the challenges Sweet Briar faces."
WATCH a message from Sweet Briar College? President Jones on your mobile device: http://shout.lt/XjQ5
Notification was made to faculty and staff, students, prospective students, parents, alumnae, donors, federal, state and local officials, and other stakeholders Tuesday, according to the college.
The college also set up a site with more information at sbc.edu/transition, though the site appeared to be down for portions of the day. Officials directed admitted students and parents who need assistance to call the Office of Admission at (800) 381-6142 and told current students and their parents to contact the Office of the Dean of the Faculty for academic questions at (434) 381-6205 or the Office of Co-Curricular Life for student life questions at (434) 381-6134.