Wisconsin’s Northland College says it’s at risk of closing this year

A screenshot of a college's website
Northland College, as seen in this screenshot from the school's website, announced Monday it needs to raise $12 million to continue operations beyond the current academic year.
Northland College

Northland College in Ashland, Wis., announced Monday it’s at risk of closing before the next academic year, and it has launched a fundraising effort to avert that from happening.

In an announcement posted on the college’s website and given to students, the Board of Trustees said it determined in a recent review the school doesn’t have the funds to keep all its programs and operations running beyond the current academic year. 

The private college enrolls just over 500 students. It’s been open for more than 130 years and has a focus on environmental studies.

Northland is looking to raise $12 million before April 3, which college leadership said would allow them to have a “transition year” in 2024-25. Leadership said they would use that year to examine a new model for the college.

“Our goal is to continue our focus and mission, but doing so will require us to evolve,” Northland College President Chad Dayton said in the announcement. “Northland will not be able to continue as it is today.”

If it can’t meet the fundraising goal, the college said it’ll have to start the process of shutting down at the end of this academic year. 

Northland said it’s facing similar problems as some other small liberal arts schools across the country, including declining enrollment and growing costs. 

“Northland College has reached a critical crossroad. We believe we can reinvent Northland, carrying forward our legacy and advancing our mission in a meaningful way. But that will only be possible with the funding in place,” Ted Bristol, chair of the college’s Board of Trustees, said in Monday’s announcement.

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