In response to economic hardships exacerbated by the pandemic, Lincoln College in Illinois has announced that it is permanently closing its doors on May 13 after 157 years in operation.
College President David Gerlach explained that while Lincoln has survived “many difficult and challenging times,” including the economic crisis of 1887, the Great Depression, and World Wars, recent economic struggles have brought the institution to its knees.
Despite record-breaking enrollment in 2019, the postsecondary institution was severely affected after the COVID-19 pandemic halted activities on campus.
Enrollment dropped to a record low once students started postponing admissions or taking a leave of absence. This had a profound impact on the school’s finances.
Lincoln was also the victim of a cyberattack at the end of 2021 that rendered all recruitment, retention, and fundraising systems inoperable, essentially canceling Fall 2022 admissions.
“Though we are experiencing undeniable grief and sadness, we find comfort in knowing Lincoln College has served generations of alumni who have undoubtedly impacted our world,” Gerlach said in a statement.
Mayor Pledges Support
Lincoln Mayor Tracy Welch has assured the Lincoln community that the city will do “ “everything within its power” to help those affected by this dramatic turn of events.
“I have reached out to several of our partners at the state and local level to discuss options,” Welch wrote on Facebook. “We will know more in the days to come but rest assured that we are all committed to doing everything within our power to help.”
State Senators Sally Turner and Tim Butler also released a joint statement promising to help with the transition process for Lincoln students, faculty, and staff.