Lincoln College has announced that it will close this week as a result of a ransomware assault that took months to fully remediate and address. In addition to having a negative influence on efforts like as recruiting and fundraising, the COVID-19 hack appears to have been the tipping point for the Illinois institution’s financial situation.
The institution has notified the Illinois Department of Higher Education as well as the Higher Learning Commission that it would close its doors permanently on May 13th, effective immediately. According to NBC News, it is the first institution or university in the United States to be forced to close as a result of a ransomware attack.
Lincoln University reports “record-breaking student enrolment” for the fall 2019 semester. The epidemic, on the other hand, resulted in a significant drop in enrolment, with some students electing to delay college or take a leave of absence. The college, which is one of just a few rural institutions that meets the Department of Education’s criteria for being a mostly Black institution, claimed that this had a negative impact on its financial situation.
Lincoln was the target of a cyberattack in December of last year “Admissions activities were stymied, and access to all institutional data was restricted, resulting in an ambiguous image of enrolment for the fall of 2022. All of the systems necessary for recruiting, retention, and fundraising efforts were down, and no one could do anything about it “The college stated this in a statement that was placed on its website. “Because of this, no personally identifying information was made public. Once Lincoln College had been fully rebuilt in March 2022, the estimates showed major enrollment gaps, necessitating a transformative contribution or collaboration in order to keep the school open beyond the present semester and beyond.”
Without a last-minute reprieve, the one-two punch of the pandemic and a hack has effectively thrown an institution with 157 years of history to its knees. Lincoln claims that it will aid students who are not graduating this semester in their efforts to transfer to another institution.
Ransomware hackers have targeted other educational institutions, as well as hospitals, gaming studios, Sinclair Broadcast Group, and a slew of other businesses and organisations, in the previous several years.