The private Park University in Parkville, Missouri, is laying off faculty, closing campuses and making substantial program cuts as it grapples with a drop in enrollment.

The private Park University in Missouri is laying off faculty, cutting programs and closing campuses after a sharp drop in enrollment that echoes what is happening nationally.

The school, which is based in the Kansas City area, said it planned to cut 16 faculty positions, mostly in low enrollment areas, the Kansas City Beacon reports. The university also said it will eliminate three graduate degree programs and about a dozen total majors, certificates, concentrations and minors. Students already enrolled in those programs will get time to finish, however.

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Spokesman Brad Biles provided no information about which campuses are closing. A map on the school’s website listed 24 campuses in 16 states, down from 39 in 21 states in September.

Missouri Fox News graphic

Park University, a Missouri-based private university system, is announcing a significant number of layoffs and program cuts amid a steep enrollment decline. (Fox News)

In a statement, the school blamed nationwide drops in enrollment since the COVID-19 pandemic and tougher competition among colleges for a smaller pool of prospective students.

Park’s enrollment dropped more than 30% from 11,319 total students in the fall of 2019 to 7,483 in fall 2022, according to Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development. While the department didn’t list this fall’s enrollment, a school fact sheet indicated the total headcount had fallen further to 6,634.

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Nationally, college enrollment has fallen 15% from 2010 to 2021, national statistics show.

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