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Portrait of a young Afro-American student n the library holding a book in the library

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Lincoln College has announced that the institution will be closing its doors after 157 years.

The Illinois-based HBCU has struggled to recover from low enrollment due to the pandemic and recently underwent a cyberattack that caused significant damage to the college’s technological infrastructure. 

The institution was founded in 1865 and was named after Abraham Lincoln. The historic school voted to end all academic programming at the end of the Spring semester. 

The school released a statement about the closure on its website and it detailed the struggles the institution has been facing over the last few years. 

“Lincoln College has notified the Illinois Department of Higher Education and Higher Learning Commission of permanent closure, effective May 13, 2022. The Board of Trustees has voted to cease all academic programming at the end of the spring semester,” the statement said. 

“The institution experienced record-breaking student enrollment in Fall 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, creating an unclear picture of Fall 2022 enrollment projections.” 

Lincoln College President David Gerlach said the loss of Lincoln and all it has to offer will be significant. However, Gerlach made sure to acknowledge the impact that the College has had on the world in its nearly 160 years of existence. 

“Lincoln College has been serving students from across the globe for more than 157 years,” said Gerlach. “The loss of history, careers, and a community of students and alumni is immense. 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.”

For many HBCUs, the pandemic has caused strife and many struggles for these institutions to survive, while many have been aided by government relief funds others are still struggling to stay afloat. 

While the memories that Lincoln college alumni and supporters have will never go away even in the absence of the school. The closing of the school serves as a reminder of how HBCUs around the country need to be supported to thrive and survive.