Northland College
65f4ce141a145f001ecc522a Northland

Wisconsin college needs to raise $12 million by April 3 to stay open

March 15, 2024
The trustees at Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, say they need to know by next month if they will have the funds needed to keep operating.

Northland College, a small liberal arts college in Ashland, Wisconsin, has three and a half weeks to raise $12 million to prevent its board of trustees from closing the school at the end of the academic year.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports that raising the money by April 3 would provide fiscal stability for the 2024-25 school year and enable college leaders to reimagine a "new" Northland with a yet-to-be-seen sustainable model.

Without the infusion of cash, the 132-year-old college will be forced to close, displacing hundreds of students and dozens of faculty and staff.

Northland College's enrollment has fluctuated between 500 and 600 students for the past decade. But it has struggled financially - in nine out of 10 fiscal years since 2012, spending has exceeded revenue, with gaps ranging from $693,000 to $4.8 million, according to tax filings. 

Known as an environmental college, Northland could consider a new focus for the college if it stays open, a statement from the college said.

"Northland College has reached a critical crossroad,” Board of Trustees Chair Ted Bristol said in a statement. “We believe we can reinvent Northland, carrying forward our legacy and advancing our mission in a meaningful way. But that will only be possible with the funding in place."

Situated along Lake Superior's Chequamegon Bay, the city of Ashland has two higher education institutions: Northland College, and a branch of Northwood Technical College. Without Northland College, the nearest four-year higher education institution would be more than an hour away.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy has been writing about education for American School & University since 1999. He also has reported on schools and other topics for The Chicago Tribune, The Kansas City Star, The Kansas City Times and City News Bureau of Chicago. He is a graduate of Michigan State University.

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