Predominantly Black Lincoln College in Illinois Has Closed

Predominantly Black Lincoln College in Lincoln, Illinois, has closed. The board of trustees voted to cease all academic programming at the end of the spring semester and to close the college on May 13. The college opened in 1865.

In the fall of 2020, Lincoln College enrolled just under 1,000 students. African Americans were 42 percent of the student body.

The college experienced record-breaking student enrollment in 2019, with residence halls at maximum capacity. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic dramatically impacted recruitment and fundraising efforts, sporting events, and all campus life activities. The economic burdens initiated by the pandemic required large investments in technology and campus safety measures, as well as a significant drop in enrollment with students choosing to postpone college or take a leave of absence, which impacted the institution’s financial position.

Furthermore, Lincoln College was a victim of a cyberattack in December 2021 that thwarted admissions activities and hindered access to all institutional data. All systems required for recruitment, retention, and fundraising efforts were inoperable.

After paying $100,000 to free its systems, the college predicted that just over 600 students would enroll, not nearly enough for the institution to pay its bills. At its final commencement earlier this month, 235 students were awarded degrees.


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