Lincoln College located in central Illinois is closing following challenges from the pandemic and a recent cyberattack, reported CNN. The predominantly Black college suffered from compromised access to institutional data and inoperable systems for recruitment and fundraising as a result.
Lincoln College had only about 1,200 students enrolled as of last summer. In a statement, the institution outlined the economic challenges that were a result of the pandemic which led to a drop in enrollment and lack of funding for extracurricular activities.
The cyber attack in December of 2021 also stalled their ability to enroll and recruit students. CNN reported cyber attacks have taken over as schools transitioned to remote learning. About 62 school districts and 26 college campuses were affected by ransomware in 2021.
More on the closure from Lincoln College:
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, creating an unclear picture of Fall 2022 enrollment projections. All systems required for recruitment, retention, and fundraising efforts were inoperable.
Fortunately, no personal identifying information was exposed. Once fully restored in March 2022, the projections displayed significant enrollment shortfalls, requiring a transformational donation or partnership to sustain Lincoln College beyond the current semester.
The college said they will provide transitional services and academic support to students through the remainder of the semester. Their final graduation ceremony was held Saturday and their doors will close Friday.
The school was named after Abraham Lincoln and opened in 1865, surviving a campus-wide fire in 1912, the Spanish flu in 1918, World War II and the financial crisis in 2008, per Lincoln College.