University of the Arts to shut its doors in early June, officials say in surprise announcement

A shock for students and staff at the University of the Arts, as the college is shutting down next week.

The president of the university in Center City released a statement Friday night saying the college will close next Friday, June 7th.

No summer classes will be held and no fall enrollment will be held.

The school just had its accreditation withdrawn from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

The president says the decision to close was a financial one:

"Like many institutions of higher learning, UArts has been in a fragile financial state, with many years of declining enrollments, declining revenues, and increasing expenses. We could not overcome the ultimate challenge we faced. The situation came to light very suddenly."

UArts says it is working on transfer programs with Temple University, Drexel and Moore College of Art and Design.

Natalie DeFruscio is an Illustration major at UArts, with a minor in Creative Arts Therapy and her work reflects her love for painting. "If you just spent an hour in the school, you could see how much talent this school held."

She was devastated to learn on Friday that the school is closing and right before her senior year. "I found out through a news article, not through my school. It’s really hard to let go, especially since I only had a little bit left."

Dava Costello graduated from UArts in 2005 and says with a near 150-year history, it was an iconic part of the Avenue of the Arts. "A lot of really great, fond memories. I’m still very close with a lot of alum who are still in the area. I think you’re going to lose student body, faculty. People that were living and working at the university. Yeah, I think it’s a big loss for Philly."

And, now students like DeFruscio are left scrambling to figure out what happens next with their higher education. "When Cabrini closed, they gave their students, I think, a year to like recoup and everything and we get a week. So, it’s actually really disappointing."

Town hall meetings will be held Monday, June 3rd for students, faculty and staff. Information regarding the times and places for those will be released throughout the weekend.

The University of the Arts was established in 1876, making it one of the country's oldest art schools.