Columbia College is laying off 49 employees across 36 locations, including 25 from the main Columbia campus.
Other operational expenses were “examined and reduced” before the cuts were made, according to a news release from the college. Severance packages have been offered to the affected employees.
No information was immediately available on what type of positions were cut.
College President Scott Dalrymple said in the release that enrollment trends are down nationally, especially among adult students.
“In a strong economy, fewer people go back to school,” Dalrymple said. “These decisions were not made lightly.”
Dalrymple noted that Columbia College has a large endowment and no debt.
“But we must be good stewards of our resources to ensure we’re here for another 169 years,” he said.
Spokesperson Sam Fleury said he could not comment beyond the scope of the college’s statement except to say the changes took effect Tuesday.
Fleury would not provide current or past enrollment information. The college’s website says it has “more than 11,632 nationwide venue students.”
Columbia College has long sought to serve adult learners and veterans in particular.
According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, enrollment for students older than 24 at private, nonprofit higher education institutions such as Columbia College was down 1.1% this past fall. The previous year, enrollment for older students at such schools was up 5% nationally; 2017 data showed a 1.5% decline.
Columbia College competes as part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, or NAIA, and sports programs from the Columbia campus have had consistent success in recent years.