- Hodges University, a small, private nonprofit college on the southwest Florida coast, announced Friday it will close by August 2024.
- University officials said in a statement that their efforts to boost enrollment failed, despite the college offering “innovative programs.” The student decline at Hodges, coupled with ongoing financial problems, forced it to close, the statement said.
- Many Hodges students will be able to complete their degrees at the college. However, the university is working with other institutions to find transfer opportunities, according to the statement.
Hodges is one of several small private institutions to recently announce shutdowns, a trend experts expect to persist amid harsh economic conditions for higher education and the expiration of federal COVID-19 aid dollars.
The university was founded in 1990 as International College, but renamed in 2007 after a $12 million donation from local benefactors Earl and Thelma Hodges.
Its enrollment has dropped significantly in the past decade or so, from more than 2,000 students in fall 2013 to about 440 in fall 2022, according to federal data.
The university’s accreditor, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges, has kept an eye on the turmoil. In December 2022, SACSCOC placed Hodges on probation, saying it hadn’t met its benchmarks for board governance and financial responsibility.
At the time, SACSCOC planned to evaluate Hodges’ accreditation again in December 2023.