John Brown University will shut down its Fort Smith satellite campus next August after having a presence in the city for more than 20 years, with a spokesman citing declining enrollment as the reason for the closure.
The Fort Smith location has 57 students in graduate counseling programs, and "it became financially impossible for the university to provide quality educational services to the small number of enrolled students," Tarah Thomas, a communication specialist with John Brown University, said in an email.
John Brown University's main campus is in Siloam Springs. The private Christian university began offering classes in Fort Smith in 1994.
It stopped offering evening business courses two years ago but continued with master's programs in counseling fields, Thomas said. A push last year to boost enrollment failed, leading to the "unavoidable" closure decision.
"Over time, student demand for evening classes in Fort Smith declined as interest in online classes grew," Thomas said.
The university owns the Fort Smith property, Thomas said, but no decisions have been made about what will become of the site.
An online petition asking the university to keep the site open until all current students can complete their degrees had more than 200 signatures as of Monday.
Thomas said the university has worked out plans for Fort Smith students to complete their degrees and that the university "is developing partnerships in greater Fort Smith" for student internships. An affiliated Fort Smith Care Clinic will also close in August 2019 after the school's summer term.
Metro on 11/01/2018