Coronavirus: Urbana University to close, cease enrollment at end of semester


Urbana University’s closure will affect 350 students and 111 full-time employees, according to a statement from Franklin University.

The university currently serves 1,254 students, the statement said.

Of that student population, 75%, or 940 students, are enrolled in the College Credit Plus program, the Post-Baccalaureate Education program, the MBA-Healthcare program and the London Correctional Institute program.

“These students will continue their studies uninterrupted and unchanged, as their instruction does not occur on the Urbana campus,” the statement said.

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The remaining 25% of Urbana’s total student population, or 350 students, consists of residential and commuter students who are now finishing the spring semester online as directed by Gov. Mike DeWine’s guidelines, the statement said.

“These students will be able to complete their academic programs online through Franklin University. Students who prefer to transfer to other institutions will be assisted in doing so,” the statement said. “For students in the final stages of their studies, a flexible “teach out plan” (a plan for the completion of their academic program) will be developed.”

In addition to students, 111 full-time employees on the Urbana campus will be affected by the closure, the statement said.

“A number of full-time employees who work at the branch campus will be offered employment at Franklin University,” the statement said. “Those who will not continue at Franklin will be offered severance packages that include outplacement assistance to help with this difficult transition.”

FIRST REPORT: Urbana University will close and cease enrollments at the end of the 2020 Spring semester, according to the university's website.

Urbana University is considered a branch campus of Franklin University. Franklin acquired Urbana University’s assets in 2014 in order to “effectively serve students,” according to Franklin University’s website. In 2017, Franklin brought Urbana under its accreditation as a branch campus.

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“Like many small rural campuses across the county, the Urbana University Branch Campus has experienced low enrollments for many years,” the university’s website said. “Franklin University’s efforts to stabilize the Urbana campus have met with some success in recent years. However, the global coronavirus pandemic has added a level of stress and uncertainty to Urbana’s prospects that make it impossible to sustain, compelling Franklin University to discontinue physical operations on the branch campus.”

According to the university’s website, all current academic programming will be moved to Franklin University, while athletic offerings and on-site administrative services will cease at the branch campus.

The Springfield News-Sun is working to learn more about the closure and will update readers when we know more.

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