The Virginia college that nearly imploded last year received a surge of applications

The news last year of the closure of Sweet Briar College — a 114-year-old all-women’s liberal arts college in Virginia — sent shock waves through the world of academia.

Even more shockingly, the school didn’t end up closing. This month it also reported a record number of applications for the next academic year, according to USA Today.

The news that Sweet Briar was closing caused extreme heartache to a deeply loyal community of students and alumnae. It also spurred a debate about the longevity of small liberal arts colleges.

Surprising many of its doubters, alumnae succeeded in an 11th-hour court ruling to keep the college open, though enrollment for this year was damaged as many students and faculty had already transferred to other schools.

This month, Sweet Briar again proved its resilience. Applications rose to 1,099 so far this year, up from 751 from the same time last year. It’s a promising sign for a school that nearly closed last spring. The college has about 700 students total, according to Forbes.

The news of growing application numbers must certainly be a relief to Phil Stone, who was appointed president of Sweet Briar in July after the previous James F. Jones Jr. resigned.

“I really don’t have any interest in coming in to run a college that will stay open for one year and then go out with dignity,” Stone told Business Insider in June. “This college is going to stay open.”

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