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Delaware College of Art and Design is closing in the coming weeks, due to financial challenges driven by declining enrollment, rising costs and “unexpected issues with the rollout of the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid,” officials announced last week.

While experts have warned that issues with the bungled rollout of the simplified FAFSA—including technical glitches and delays—could lead to an enrollment crisis, the effects have yet to be seen broadly. DCAD appears to be the first institution to cite FAFSA in connection to its closure.

“We did not make the decision lightly and sought every possible avenue to avoid it,” President Jean Dahlgren wrote in the closure announcement. “Our declining enrollment numbers over the last several years and for the upcoming school year have prevented us from adequately supporting our educational purposes and programs. The Board of Trustees has worked diligently to find other funding solutions, but none allow us to overcome the longer-term problem of too few students.”

Delaware College of Art and Design enrolled 129 students in fall 2022, according to the Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. That's down from 247 in fall 2011, the highest enrollment point for the small college in recent years.

Publicly available financial documents show a history of monetary issues, with DCAD operating at a loss for six of the last 10 available fiscal years.