PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Concordia University, an institution since the early 1900s in Portland, Oregon, has announced it will close.
The private, nonprofit Lutheran university’s Board of Regents voted Friday to cease operations at the end of its spring semester, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported. The university’s 24-acre campus is expected to eventually go up for sale.
“The Board made this decision to prioritize the well-being of students, faculty, and staff and fulfill its fiduciary obligations," Concordia said in a statement. "In the Board’s best judgment, a thoughtful and orderly closure process offers the best possible outcome for all affected parties.”
The university said the closure comes “after years of mounting financial challenges, and a challenging and changing educational landscape.”
Nearly 5,900 students attended Concordia in 2018, according to its website. The university said it’s in talks to provide students the chance to continue their educations elsewhere.
In 2015, the U.S. Department of Education said Concordia illegally outsourced some of its online programs to a private contractor HotChalk Inc. Online instruction was the pivotal force that propelled Concordia’s rise to one of the nation’s largest providers of master of education degrees. A $1 million agreement was reached to settle the claim while denying wrongdoing.
Concordia Law school in Boise, Idaho, is owned by the Portland university, and is expected to remain open while officials work to find a new university with which to join forces.
“As part of the difficult decision to close the campus in Portland, the Board also decided to give Concordia Law permission to find a willing and viable parent institution,” Concordia Law Interim Dean Latonia Haney Keith said in a prepared statement. “This process is underway, and we are currently engaged in active conversations with multiple institutions interested in an affiliation with the law school. We will have more details in coming weeks about Concordia Law moving forward.”
Haney Keith said the ownership change could mean the school will change its name, but tuition, curriculum and programs will remain the same for now. She hopes to have a deal struck in the next few weeks, with plans to ask the American Bar Association to approve the ownership switch in August.
Concordia University announced it was opening the Boise law school in 2008, and the new school began taking students in 2012.
The law school encountered problems along the way, however, when the American Bar Association postponed making a decision on whether to grant the school accreditation in 2014.
About a dozen students were in their final year of law school at the time, and they were unable to take the Idaho State Bar Exam because the school wasn’t accredited.
Concordia received provisional accreditation the next year, with 11 graduates taking the bar exam. Concordia Law was granted full accreditation last March.