Amherst, Va.- Officials at Sweet Briar College have suddenly announced that they will permanently be shutting down the school August 25, 2015 due to “insurmountable financial challenges.”
Founded in 1901, Sweet Briar has provided women a liberal arts education in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Sweet Briar is renown for its equestrian programs, small community, and newly created engineering science degree.
According to officials, the college has been forced to discount tuition by an average of 60 percent to attract students, which has left it in a perilous situation, and an $84 million endowment has not been enough to offset the diminishing demand for their school in a turbulent market.
According to the Washington Post, enrollment has continued to falter. In 2010, the college had 760 students; however, last fall the school only had 700 students. The school costs about $47,000 a year in tuition, fees, room and board.
The closure of the college seemingly continues the trending path of the retrenchment for single-sex higher education, and gives a poor forecast to the future of small liberal arts schools of all types.
While current students are concerned about transferring credits and where they would be next year, Sweet Briar officials have said they will be working to help students transfer possibly to Hollins University, or Mary Baldwin College, both of which are women’s schools in Virginia, or elsewhere should they choose to do so.
Students and alumni alike have been shocked by the news, and the situation is leaving many in the small community to wonder what their futures hold now that the century old southern school is closing.