Urbana University has been approved for branch campus status effective Aug. 1 as a division of Franklin University.
Franklin, a private, nonprofit institution, founded in 1902 in Columbus, Ohio, has received approval for its change of status application by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
While the Urbana University name will be maintained, it will now add the descriptor “a branch campus of Franklin University,” or “a division of Franklin University” after its name. In addition, as an element of moving under Franklin’s accreditation, Urbana’s current accredited (probation) status no longer applies.
“This change is of great significance as it positions Urbana to move forward with growth strategies that leverage existing academic strengths, as well as offer new academic programs and athletics that align with the interests, needs and workforce skills necessary for economic prosperity,” according to a statement released Friday by Franklin University.
Franklin acquired Urbana University’s assets in April 2014 to assure Urbana’s ability to continue to serve students effectively. Working together, Franklin and Urbana’s executive leadership have spent the past three years identifying strategies to position Urbana University for short- and long-term success, according to Friday’s statement.
Reportedly investing more than $15 million, Franklin University has provided funding for scholarships as well as a number of improvements to the Urbana campus. Infrastructure improvements have included upgrades to science labs, upgraded security features, resurfacing of all parking lots, installation of new sidewalks and new stadium turf, as well as upgrades to Grimes Hall. In addition, the university is currently in the process of refreshing the dining commons and installing stadium lights.
Through Friday’s announcement, Franklin and Urbana further solidify the foundational support needed to continue efforts to better serve Urbana’s students, alumni, faculty and staff. Under the leadership of Dr. Christopher Washington, Urbana University will continue on its path toward revitalization by assessing organizational needs, and service configurations that leverage the shift to branch campus status, while maintaining a strong focus on Urbana’s unique brand in its own market.
Urbana is distinguished from Franklin’s other offerings because the campus has NCAA Div. II athletics. During an interview with the Urbana Daily Citizen in June, Washington – UU’s executive vice president and provost – affirmed Franklin’s commitment to athletics, saying he is a firm believer in universities supporting opportunities for athletes who choose to pursue higher education.
Franklin will spend the next few weeks updating web content followed by an update of marketing materials to reflect the new accreditation status.
For additional information regarding the branch campus accreditation status, visit this Frequently Asked Questions link: https://www.urbana.edu/about-us/urbana-franklin-university-information