Reduced enrollment at MICA results in layoff plans

A post-pandemic drop in student enrollment has led MICA President Samuel Hoi to announce that staff and faculty layoffs will take place at the end of the current semester in May.

At a “State of MICA” event, Hoi said the institution continues to reel from the blows of the coronavirus pandemic, which has cut international and residential enrollment. He said the five-year average before the pandemic stood at about 1,700 students and has now leveled to 1,200 to 1,400 over the last three years.

The college will also restructure its educational programs to become more sustainable. It plans to consolidate its 18 undergraduate studies departments to about seven, and it will create more interdisciplinary options for students. It also will offer more “applied practical” courses that teach skills outside artmaking.

MICA experienced a round of cuts ahead of the 2022 fall semester. In an interview with the Bulletin last fall, Hoi said optimistically that, while there were fewer international students, they were representing a greater range of countries. Chinese students are fewer, reflecting that country’s extended COVID policies as well as geopolitical tensions.

According to the Baltimore Banner, the college owns property and equipment worth close to $170 million and has some $117 million in endowment funds. Many of these funds are restricted by donors, which means administrators can’t use them for needs outside of what donors intend.