Citing declining enrollment and a large real estate debt, the Memphis College of Art has announced plans to close.
WMC-TV reports that school officials have "determined that an independent, private fine arts and design college is no longer financially sustainable in Memphis."
"Facing declining enrollment, overwhelming real estate debt, and no viable long-term plan for financial sustainability, the Board of Directors of the Memphis College of Art has voted to stop recruiting new students, effective immediately, and begin making plans to close the College," the school says in a news release.
"Over the last months, the school’s leaders have cut costs to operate as efficiently as possible, but it wasn’t sufficient to sustain operations beyond the current academic year without continued significant community support."
The college plans to remain open long enough so it can fulfill "its obligations to existing students who remain in good standing."
How long the "wind-down" of operations will take has not been determined, but the college says it anticipates it will remain open through May 2020.
“This has been a heartbreaking process,” says MCA Interim President Laura Hine. “But we remain proud of the creative energy MCA artists have long brought to Memphis, and are eternally grateful to the donors and foundations who have sustained us throughout our 81-year history.