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Trustees at Oregon College of Oriental Medicine voted last week to close the institution, noting financial challenges exacerbated by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, “major shifts in higher education, and contraction in Chinese medicine education,” according to a news release.

Officials also noted social issues in Portland, where the college is located, and declining enrollment.

“The increase in crime, drug use, and people living unsheltered in Portland and, especially, in Old Town, due to the pandemic led to a steep decline in enrollment and gutted the college building’s value,” officials said in the announcement. “OCOM lost half its student body in the last four years. At the same time, higher education enrollments nationwide have been declining for more than a decade due to changing demographics, rising tuition costs, and the explosion in student loan debt that has caused many students to rethink a four-year education.”

The college, which only offers graduate degrees in Chinese medicine, enrolled 160 students in fall 2022, the Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System shows.

The college has also struggled to generate revenues in recent years, according to publicly available financial documents that indicate that OCOM has frequently operated at a deficit.

The news release notes that OCOM has submitted a teach-out plan to allow students to finish their degrees at the National University of Natural Medicine or Five Branches University. The college will close in September, pending accreditor approval of the submitted teach-out plan.