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Apr 14, 2017 11:26 AM EDT

The Santa Fe University of Art and Design has announced the school's closure for the spring of 2018 on Wednesday. The school administrators, interim president, Maria Puzziferio and chair of the board directors, Susan Fairbairn, cited ongoing financial challenges and the need to offer their roughly 650 students clarity about the school's future.

Administrators said the teachers will be thoughtfully phased out and that they are still considering other options, such as a public-private partnership to help further the mission of the campus. The university leases the campus from the city of Santa Fe for $2.2 million a year.

The school is owned by the Laureate International Universities. There were rumors that spread throughout Santa Fe since Laureate hoped to sell its assets to Raffles Education Corp. of Singapore but unfortunately the deal did not go through. Wednesday's announcement had confirmed the rumors.

The school transferred arrangements with several other accredited institutions to reassure that students who still have more than 36 credit hours to complete for their degrees would transition just fine. Administrators said their goal right now is to see eligible students transfer with as little financial or academic disruption as much as possible, The US News reported.

In Puzziferio and Fairbairn's letter they said that it was a very difficult decision and the steadfast commitment to the students' academic success remains their top priority. It included an explanation of how the students can take advantage of formal transfer arrangements that included the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design in Denver, Santa Fe Reporter reported.

Puzzirfero said the university was in a difficult position and the administration tried to do everything they could. Matt Ross, city spokesman said the mayor asked Councilor Lindell and Councilor Harris, who had backgrounds in real estate and development, to conduct a review of the property and lead the effort to consider other options for the property.

More information about teacher phase out and student transfer can be found online through their website.

Follows Santa Fe University of Art and Design, Maria Puzziferio, Susan Fairbairn, Laureate International Universities, Raffles Education Corp., Singapore, Santa Fe, University of New Mexico, Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design
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