UArts announces closure, Drexel offers pathway | The Triangle

UArts announces closure, Drexel offers pathway

Photo by ajay_suresh | Wikimedia Commons

On May 31, 2024 The Middle States Commission on Higher Education posted a statement on the accreditation website for the University of The Arts. The statement came in response to an email that MSCHE received from UArts on May 29 informing the accreditation commission that the school would be closing permanently on June 7.

MSCHE requires schools that want to remain accredited during a closing process to enact certain measures to protect students such as transfer and teach out plans. MSCHE responded “to note that the institution failed to inform the Commission of closure in a timely manner or to properly plan for closure with prior approval through substantive change. To require immediate notification to the Commission verifying the date of closure of the institution by email to [email protected]. To take an immediate adverse action to withdraw accreditation from University of the Arts effective June 1, 2024.” 

The statement from MSCHE about the closure was published on social media by news outlets such as the Philadelphia Inquirer before UArts released a statement. 

The following Monday, students, faculty and staff grew frustrated when a town hall meeting that was supposed to address concerns about UArts was abruptly canceled. Protesters gathered at the South Broad Street campus the same day demanding answers from UArts administrators. The protest extended overnight into Tuesday, June 4.

President John Fry released an email to students this week addressing the closure of UArts. “We learned on Friday afternoon that the University of the Arts in Philadelphia (UArts) will be closing this week. UArts has been an important part of Philadelphia’s higher education landscape for more than 100 years, and its unexpected and sudden closure has affected so many of our colleagues throughout the arts community,” the statement reads.

President Fry also announced The UArts-Drexel Pathway program in his email. “We have reached out to our Middle States Commission on Higher Education representative to ensure that they are aware of our willingness to work to create a pathway program that will help UArts students continue their education as seamlessly as possible during this challenging time of transition, and will allow them to stay on track and finish their degree at Drexel.”

The UArts-Drexel Pathway program is designed to aid students from UArts to transfer to Drexel and complete their degrees with as little disruption to their graduation trajectory as possible. The program is also offering “one-on-one, individualized counseling sessions to explore academic options, application next steps, and financial aid opportunities,” according to the webpage.

The program also includes information on financial aid assistance for UArts transfer students. For first-year admitted students, Drexel promises to match student financial aid packages that were already determined by UArts as closely as possible. For current UArts students, Drexel is offering a 50 percent tuition discount to all undergraduate students who transfer to Drexel University.

Along with the financial aid assistance, the program is also offering to UArts students: special on-campus visit opportunities; waived application fees; accelerated transfer credit evaluations; and preferential housing assignments that try to honor prior UArts roommate selections.

Drexel and the UArts-Drexel Pathway program has already set up on-campus events including “Undergraduate Admissions & Creative Connections Day,” “Graduate Admissions & Creative Networking Session” and “UArts Transfer Instant Decision Day.”