CHICAGO (AP) – A historically 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 cyberattack that worsened recruitment over a coronavirus pandemic.
Lincoln College, which had a record number of entrants in 2019, said in a press release that it was trying to stay afloat with fundraising companies, consolidating staff positions and exploring leasing alternatives.
“Unfortunately, these efforts did not create the long-term viability of Lincoln College in the face of a pandemic,” said a release from the school, which opened in 1865 in Lincoln, about 170 miles southwest of Chicago.
Then, as COVID cases declined and students returned to schools across the country, the college fell victim to a December cyber attack. This left all the systems needed to recruit students, keep them and raise money inoperable for three months.
This was stated by Lincoln President David Gerlach Chicago Tribune that the school paid a ransom of less than $ 100,000 after the attack, which he said took place 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 gaps in enrollment” that would require massive donations or partnerships to stay open after the current semester.
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A GoFundMe campaign called Save Lincoln College was launched to raise $ 20 million, but only $ 2,352 was raised this week. And Gerlach told the Tribune that the school needed $ 50 million to stay open.
“The loss of the history, career and community of students and alumni is huge,” Gerlach said in a statement. On Tuesday, the school did not immediately call back from the Associated Press.
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.
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