Students from Rapid City and across the country will no longer be able to take traditional, classroom-based classes at National American University, according to the school's president.
"Our students want full mobile functionality and support services available 24/7," Ronald Shape, president and CEO of NAU, said Friday in an email to the Journal. "To serve the needs of the majority of its students, NAU will primarily offer courses online taught by faculty across the country."
NAU's central administration and online support services center will remain in Rapid City and continue to employ about 70 people, Shape said. He did not respond when asked how many of the school's employees will lose their jobs, when they will be terminated, and whether they will receive severance.
Shape also did not respond when asked when the Rapid City campus will close and what resources are available to help students transition into the online program.
NAU, however, will continue to offer traditional classes to military personnel and their families at Ellsworth Air Force Base and the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia, Shape said. He did not respond when asked if these will be NAU's only remaining traditional campuses.
About 300 of NAU's 4,000 students will continue to attend in-person classes, Shape said in the email.
NAU's decision to close most traditional campuses follows its decision last fall to cut staff and phase out a quarter of its academic programs. It also comes after plummeting enrollment and the company posting an operating loss of $11.5 million in the 2018 fiscal year.
The Rapid City based-school opened in 1941 and operates in South Dakota, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Minnesota.