Administration

Sweet Briar College in Virginia to close in August, cites major 'financial challenges'

  • Anna ten Bensel, (cq) with glasses, comforts fellow sophomore Lauren Jacobson Tuesday, March 3, 2015, after hearing the news that Sweet Briar College will close at the end of the school year. The president announced the closing in Babcock Auditorium. (AP Photo/Richmond Times-Dispatch, Alexa Welch Edlund)

    Anna ten Bensel, (cq) with glasses, comforts fellow sophomore Lauren Jacobson Tuesday, March 3, 2015, after hearing the news that Sweet Briar College will close at the end of the school year. The president announced the closing in Babcock Auditorium. (AP Photo/Richmond Times-Dispatch, Alexa Welch Edlund)  (The Associated Press)

  • Sweet Briar students react Tuesday, March 3, 2015, to the news that Sweet Briar College will close at the end of the school year. The president announced the closing in Babcock Auditorium. (AP Photo/Richmond Times-Dispatch, Alexa Welch Edlund)

    Sweet Briar students react Tuesday, March 3, 2015, to the news that Sweet Briar College will close at the end of the school year. The president announced the closing in Babcock Auditorium. (AP Photo/Richmond Times-Dispatch, Alexa Welch Edlund)  (The Associated Press)

  • Sweet Briar students react Tuesday, March 3, 2015, to the news that Sweet Briar College will close at the end of the school year. The president announced the closing in Babcock Auditorium. (AP Photo/Richmond Times-Dispatch, Alexa Welch Edlund)

    Sweet Briar students react Tuesday, March 3, 2015, to the news that Sweet Briar College will close at the end of the school year. The president announced the closing in Babcock Auditorium. (AP Photo/Richmond Times-Dispatch, Alexa Welch Edlund)  (The Associated Press)

Sweet Briar College — a small, private school for women near the Blue Ridge Mountains — will shut down this summer because of financial issues.

The college announced the Aug. 25 closure Tuesday. The college says its board of directors approved the closure Saturday.

Sweet Briar attributed the decision to what it calls "insurmountable financial challenges."

President James F. Jones says in a statement that he, the board and several alumnae have searched for solutions but concluded they couldn't change two realities. First, Jones says, is a decline in the number of students who choose to attend small, rural, private liberal arts colleges. Second, he says, is the unsustainability of the college's tuition discount rate that it used to attract students.