Lincoln College has announced it is shutting its doors permanently, largely the result of the COVID pandemic and a recent ransomware attack.
Lincoln College is in rural Illinois and is one of only a handful of rural colleges the Department of Education identifies as predominantly Black institutions. On the school’s website, it notes it has survived everything thrown at it in its 157-year history, but the pandemic and a ransomware attack proved too much. The institution will permanently shut its doors after the spring 2022 semester.
Interestingly, Lincoln experienced “record-breaking student enrollment in Fall 2019.” Just months later, however, the pandemic significantly impacted recruiting, fundraising, and other activities. The straw that broke the camel’s back was a cyberattack in December 2021.
Furthermore, Lincoln College was a victim of a cyberattack in December 2021 that thwarted admissions activities and hindered access to all institutional data, creating an unclear picture of Fall 2022 enrollment projections. All systems required for recruitment, retention, and fundraising efforts were inoperable. Fortunately, no personal identifying information was exposed. Once fully restored in March 2022, the projections displayed significant enrollment shortfalls, requiring a transformational donation or partnership to sustain Lincoln College beyond the current semester.
Lincoln College’s situation is a sad reminder of the real-world costs associated with ransomware attacks.