A 154-year-old university in Northern California on Monday announced its plan to close in 2023 due to low enrollment, increasing operational costs, and financial trouble resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Holy Names University, a Roman Catholic institution in Oakland, has decided to close after the spring semester concludes in May 2023, a news release said.
Students who haven’t completed their studies by May 2023 will have the opportunity to continue their education at the Dominican University of California, another Catholic university in San Rafael.
Undergraduate students at HNU will be automatically enrolled at the Dominican University of California for the next semester. However, a news release said that graduate students need to speak with department heads to figure out a plan.
During the pandemic, HNU has struggled to improve its enrollment numbers. Only 520 undergraduates and 423 graduate students were enrolled for the fall 2022 semester. Only 449 students in total are registered for the spring 2023 semester, according to a news release.
The university also struggled with keeping its NCAA sports programs afloat, which resulted in the programs’ termination and employee layoffs that will go into effect starting at the end of January or early Feburary.
The university’s board of trustees fought to keep the university open, but those plans didn’t materialize.
“HNU had a strong 5-year strategic business plan and secured long-term financing, but the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated and exacerbated existing challenges, and disproportionately impacted the students HNU serves, many from under-resourced communities or who are first-generation college students,” Steven Borg, HNU Board Chairperson, said in a statement.
HNU first opened in 1868 and was founded by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, a religious congregation.