Historically, a black college in downtown Illinois, named after Abraham Lincoln and founded in the year the former president was assassinated, will close this week, months after a cyber attack that worsened combating enrollment in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lincoln College, which in 2019 had a record number of entrants, said in a press release that it was trying to stay afloat with the help of fundraising campaigns, consolidating staff positions and alternatives to leasing for exploration.
“Unfortunately, these efforts did not create the long-term viability of Lincoln College in a pandemic,” the college said in a statement. The school opened in 1865 in Lincoln, Illinois, about 170 miles southwest of Chicago.
Then when COVID cases fell and students returned to campuses across the country the college fell victim to a cyber attack in December that left all the systems needed to recruit students, retain them and raise money not working for three months.
Lincoln President David Gerlach told the Chicago Tribune that the school paid a ransom of less than $ 100,000 after the attack, which he said originated in Iran. But when the systems were fully restored, the school, which enrolled just over 1,000 students during the 2018-19 school year, found “significant shortcomings in enrollment” that would require massive donations or partnerships to stay open after the current semester.
A GoFundMe campaign called Save Lincoln College was launched to raise $ 20 million, but only $ 2,352 was raised this week. Gerlach told the Tribune that the school needs $ 50 million to stay open.
“The loss of the history, career and community of students and alumni is huge,” Gerlach said in a statement. The school did not receive a call from the Associated Press on Tuesday.
The school also announced that the Higher Education Commission has approved so-called tuition / transfer agreements with 21 colleges. Last month, the school held a college fair to give students a chance to find out where they can transfer.