Lincoln College is preparing for permanent closure after experiencing significant financial burdens induced by the coronavirus pandemic and a December 2021 cyberattack.
“Lincoln College has survived many difficult and challenging times–the economic crisis of 1887, a major campus fire in 1912, the Spanish flu of 1918, the Great Depression, World War II, the 2008 global financial crisis, and more, but this is different. Lincoln College needs help to survive,” the college revealed in a farewell statement.
“The economic burdens initiated by the pandemic required large investments in technology and campus safety measures, as well as a significant drop in enrollment with students choosing to postpone college or take a leave of absence, which impacted the institution’s financial position.”
CNN reported that Abraham Lincoln’s namesake college had approximately 1,200 enrolled students as of summer 2021. While the pandemic directly influenced enrollment, the college explained that the cyberattack “thwarted admissions activities and hindered access to all institutional data, creating an unclear picture of Fall 2022 enrollment projections.”
Thankfully, no personal identifying information was exposed.
With the onset of the COVID-19 crisis in 2020, there was an increased number of cyberattacks against schools, colleges, and universities that are often unprepared to ward off ransomware attacks, in which victims’ digital data is encrypted until the victim pays.
Since then, thousands of students, faculty, and alumni of Lincoln College have worked tirelessly to keep the school open. A public Facebook group was opened to share stories and efforts, as well as to console the community.
“Lincoln College has been serving students from across the globe for more than 157 years,” said David Gerlach, president of Lincoln College. “The loss of history, careers, and a community of students and alumni is immense.”
“Though we are experiencing undeniable grief and sadness, we find comfort in knowing Lincoln College has served generations of alumni who have undoubtedly impacted our world.”
The Illinois school held its 163rd and last commencement Saturday.