Sweet Briar College to Close Because of Financial Issues

SWEET BRIAR, Va. — Sweet Briar College will shut down this summer because of financial issues.

The private women’s college in Sweet Briar, located near Lynchburg, Virginia, announced the Aug. 25 closure Tuesday in a news release. The college says its board of directors approved the closure on Saturday.

Sweet Briar attributed the decision to what it calls “insurmountable financial challenges.”

President James F. Jones says in the release that he, the board and several alumnae have searched for solutions. But they concluded they couldn’t change two realities.

Jones says one reality is a decline in the number of students who choose to attend small, rural, private liberal arts colleges. The other is the unsustainability of an increase in the college’s tuition discount rate.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Sweet Briar becomes the third liberal arts college to close in Virginia within the past two years, joining Virginia Intermont College in Bristol and historically Black institution St. Paul’s College in Lawrenceville.