The slog of private universities facing closure is extending beyond America’s mainland.
The Board of Trustees of American University of Puerto Rico officially announced it is shutting down operations. Its two campuses in Bayamón and Manatí will close their doors on December 31 of this year, according to a university statement.
The 60-year-old institution tried to stay open by negotiating a merger with another institution but the effort proved unsuccessful, according to the Board.
The statement cited Hurricane Irma and Maria as two detrimental influences on the school’s operations. The hurricanes hit the island two weeks apart and caused approximately $100.7 billion in damages, according to AP News. The storms mainly affected the northeast region where American’s campuses are located. While the island already struggled with insurmountable debt, the economic impact of the hurricanes further bludgeoned the school’s ability to provide strong academic quality, such as its teaching.
As a result, the board believes American University has garnered a poor perception among potential students and thus does not have sustainable enrollment numbers. With people leaving the northeast region of Puerto Rico already due to the country’s slow hurricane recovery, the university had a small pool of students to begin with.
The school will carry out its summer programs regularly until the closure.
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