Struggling Union Institute & University has voluntarily surrendered accreditation, effective June 25, according to a letter on the Higher Learning Commission’s (HLC) website. The move comes just ahead of the June 28 deadline the small Ohio college faced to prove its compliance with HLC standards.

Voluntarily surrendering accreditation almost assuredly indicates Union Institute will close.

In fact, the college has essentially been closed for months in all but name. Union last offered classes for most students in summer 2023; by fall it was offering instruction only to doctoral students. The private institution has faced severe financial issues since at least late 2022, when Union administrators failed to make payroll and pay rent on time. Amid the struggles, the college was evicted from its Cincinnati headquarters and hit with an investigation by the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Industrial Compliance over wage complaints.

The Education Department also cut off Union’s access to federal financial aid last November and fined the institution $4.3 million for alleged mismanagement of federal student aid dollars. Despite the severity of those setbacks, college leaders have stayed silent about its future.

Phone numbers for Union appeared to be disconnected on Tuesday.

Enrollment at Union Institute & University collapsed in recent years, falling from more than 1,600 students in the early 2010s to 787 students in fall 2022, according to the Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. Union, an Hispanic-serving institution, has long enrolled underserved students from marginalized populations.

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