Who Will Fill Midstate's Unique Niche in Peoria Higher Ed?

Jul 24, 2019

Midstate College in Peoria will close its doors at the end of the summer session next month.

President and CEO Meredith Bunch says declining enrollment is behind the decision to end operations at the 131-year-old institution.

In all, 45 Midstate employees will lose their jobs and 183 studnets will have to look elsewhere to continue their education. Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis said he has multiple concerns about the closing.

"I'm concerned about the number of employees. I'm concerned about the niche that Midstate filled. I mean, there were a lot of non-traditional students there," he said. 

Midstate College offered a variety of degrees in business and medical fields via programs on flexible schedules. It may be too early to tell how many higher education institutions in the region will step up to help fill the void in the Peoria area's educational fabric left behind by Midstate College. 

Like many students, faculty and the public at large, colleges and universities were taken aback by Midstate's sudden closure announcement on Monday, which Bunch said was spurred by low enrollment and the collapse of a potential partnership agreement with another institution. 

For medical students attending Midstate College, Methodist College is looking to help fill the gap. 

“We were saddened to hear the news of the closure of Midstate College. They have been such an important part of the higher education fabric in Central Illinois,” said Methodist College Chancellor James Dire. “We are committed to providing whatever services we can to assist their students in completing their programs in healthcare, health science, or human services.”

Methodist College will host a open house for impacted Midstate College students on Wednesday, July 31 from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at their campus  at 7600 N. Academic Dr. in north Peoria. Methodist College's medical assistant, medical office technician, bachelor of science in healthcare management are aligned with Midstate's programs. 

Midstate College will host a transfer fair for students on August 13. Transcripts will remain available for students even after the college's closure on August 14, Bunch said.