Ransomware attack and COVID woes force this 150-year-old college to shut down

Lincoln College in Illinois will shut down permanently this week after financial woes caused by the pandemic were magnified by a ransomware attack last December. 

In a note posted on its website, the 157-year-old liberal arts college in rural Illinois said it had survived multiple recessions, a major campus fire in 1912, the Spanish flu of 1918, the Great Depression, World War II, and the 2008 global financial crisis. 

But then came the COVID-19 pandemic, which harmed its already strained finances through a drop in enrollments and large tech investments required to support remote learning. The final blow came on December 19 when the college was hit by ransomware, which affected its IT systems for recruitment, retention and fundraising. Per NBC, it’s the first US higher education institution to shut in part due to ransomware.

SEE: What is ransomware? Everything you need to know about one of the biggest menaces on the web

The college told NPR in March it would be forced to close at the end of the spring term, on May 13, unless it received a major donation or merger. The system outage lasted one and a half months,

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