Drexel to Close Sacramento Campus Experiment

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Drexel University has reported that they will be closing their Sacramento, California campus, which has been open for 6 years, after a unanimous decision by the institution’s board of trustees.

Drexel, which is native to Philadelphia, encountered problems getting its west coast campus off the ground, writes Dale Kasler of the Sacramento Bee. Its main focus was a graduate business program that competed with the well-established programs at UC Davis and Sacramento State, leading to financial trouble and hindered growth.

Jon Fry, Drexel’s president, said in an email to faculty and staff that:

It became more and more apparent that our efforts in Sacramento no longer advance our mission as a research university. Moving forward, we believe Drexel can best serve students and society through degree programs in Philadelphia and online.

Drexel’s main campus has about 26,000 students, while the Sacramento campus has just 215, along with 36 faculty members and 15 administrators. According to Sara Heise of KCRA, Students will be allowed to finish their degrees, which is estimated to take anywhere from 18 months to 2 years, but no new students will be accepted. It is unclear what will happen to its staff as the campus is phased out.

Fry’s letter to alumni admitted defeat:

I write to let you know that yesterday, on my recommendation, the Drexel board of trustees voted unanimously to begin the process of phasing out Drexel University Sacramento. The board did not take this decision lightly.

As we aligned Drexel’s programs and operations in recent years to better focus on pressing priorities, it became apparent that our efforts in Sacramento no longer advance our mission as a research university. We will work closely to minimize the impact on all stakeholders and help them achieve their goals.

The Sacramento campus, when it opened in 2009, only offered master’s degree programs related to business administration, according to Allen Young of the Sacramento Business Journal. 4 years later, it added an undergraduate degree in business for students who already had some college credit. As of this year, students could get a master’s degree in business, finance, higher education, or medical science; a doctoral degree; or a post-baccalaureate degree.

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has been successful with a similar project, a small business administration graduate school in Sacramento.

CBS Sacramento quotes tweets by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson,

News just broke on @DrexelUniv leaving Sac. I want to thank them for all they’ve done. They have been great partners with the community.

With the growth of Sac State and the desire of UC Davis to continue expanding downtown, it’s clear that Sac embraces higher education.

The office building campus was supposed to be a temporary home while a major campus was built in Placer County near Roseville. Despite Drexel’s unfortunate experience, the British University of Warwick plans to open their own campus in Placer County.

The alumni association of approximately 500 Sacramento campus graduates plans to stay active.