The two entities currently undergo a separate accreditation process. If Urbana University receives approval to become a branch campus of Franklin, it would fall under Franklin’s accreditation process.
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The Columbus school is working through that process with the Higher Learning Commission, an accreditation agency. Franklin hopes to receive approval to combine accreditation for the two universities as early as next month, Washington said.
Urbana University has been under academic probation since November 2014 when the smaller campus faced a variety of challenges. The university has about 1,800 students and has a roughly $31 million economic impact on the region.
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Washington said he’s already meeting with leaders from Champaign County businesses and school districts to ensure the university’s academic programs are aligned with the skills employers want. Champaign County and the surrounding areas rely heavily on manufacturing, he said.
“We really are looking to ensure we’re more integrated into the Urbana community,” Washington said.
Staying with the Story
The Springfield News-Sun has provided extensive coverage of financial challenges at Urbana University, including stories on its impact on Champaign County and digging into what its acquisition by Franklin University means.