OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A 154-year-old Northern California university said Monday it plans to close its doors for good next year as it struggles with declining enrollment, rising operational costs and financial trouble brought on during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Holy Names University in Oakland, which opened in 1868, announced in a news release that it will cease operations in May 2023 after the completion of the spring semester.
"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,” HNU Board Chairperson Steven Borg said in a statement.
Currently, there are about 520 undergrads and 423 graduate students enrolled at the private Roman Catholic university. But the school said enrollment has dropped significantly so that only 449 total students are signed up for the spring semester.
Layoffs are expected to start at the end of January or early February, the statement said.
Students will have the option to continue their studies at Dominican University of California across San Francisco Bay in San Rafael.
“The missions and degree offerings of our two institutions are beautifully aligned,” said Dominican University of California President Nicola Pitchford. "We look forward to inviting Holy Names University’s continuing students to a new, vibrant and inclusive home in San Rafael.”