After 114 years, Sweet Briar College is shutting its doors forever. The board chair of the college, Paul G. Rice, said in a statement, “This is a sad day for the entire Sweet Briar College community. The board closely examined the College’s financial situation and weighed it against our obligations to current and prospective students, parents, faculty and staff, alumnae, donors and friends. We voted to act now to cease academic operations responsibly, allowing us to place students at other academic institutions, to assist faculty and staff with the transition and to conduct a more orderly winding down of academic operations.”
The class of 2015 will be the last Sweet Briar College class to graduate. The school, located in Sweet Briar, Virginia, will help the remaining students, including incoming first-years, to transfer to other schools. Sweet Briar will host on-campus college fairs so its students can meet representatives from other colleges.
Sweet Briar also hopes to pay severance packages to its staff, and help them transition to positions at other universities and colleges.
The president of the college, James F. Jones Jr. cited lack of interest in women’s liberal arts colleges as one reason the school must shut down. He said, “The board, some key alumnae and I have worked diligently to find a solution to the challenges Sweet Briar faces. This work led us to the unfortunate conclusion that there are two key realities that we could not change: the declining number of students choosing to attend small, rural, private liberal arts colleges and even fewer young women willing to consider a single-sex education, and the increase in the tuition discount rate that we have to extend to enroll each new class is financially unsustainable.”