THE LOOP — The Harrington College of Design, which calls itself the "largest interior design school in Chicago," announced Wednesday that it is closing after 84 years.
Citing dwindling enrollment and growing financial deficits, the school at 200 W. Madison St. announced in a release posted on its website Wednesday that it will cease operations in August 2018. Current students can transfer to Columbia College Chicago, pending accreditor and regulatory approval of transfers, according to the release.
“While this is a sad day indeed, I have assured Harrington students that through our plans with Columbia College Chicago they have opportunities to continue their studies and earn their degrees,” Jim McCoy, Harrington's vice president of operations, said in a statement.
Columbia echoed the sentiment.
“Harrington and Columbia College Chicago have each been educating accomplished design students alongside each other for decades. We are pleased to assist Harrington College through this transition so students are provided with a seamless option to complete their studies," Columbia Provost Stanley T. Wearden said in a statement. "We look forward to welcoming Harrington students, faculty and staff to our campus community.”
The school awards associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees in fields including photography, interior design, and graphic design, according to its website. Harrington is a for-profit college, and annual tuition is $18,357 according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Other statistics show the college has an enrollment of 600 students, but only 29 percent of undergraduates who began classes in 2007 graduated. More than half of undergraduates received financial aid, but 75 percent of them are financing their education through federal student loans.
A Columbia spokeswoman deferred questions to Wearden's statement. A Harrington spokeswoman did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
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