Duluth Business University To Close After 126 Years

DBU Is The Twin Ports' Oldest College or University

DULUTH, Minn. – Duluth Business University announced exclusively to FOX 21 Tuesday that it will be closing its doors next year after 126 years of education in the Twin Ports, as FOX 21’s Dan Hanger reports.

“We didn’t do anything wrong. We are victims of some very poor handling by the government. It was a lynching. It was an ambush,” explained Jim Gessner, DBU’s president and owner of 52 years.

Gessner says enrollment has been on a downward spiral ever since the U.S. Department of Education stopped recognizing the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools – or ACICS.

That accreditor oversaw DBU and 265 of other colleges, according to Gessner, including ITT Technical Institute, which shut down its campuses across the country last year.

“That’s what caused the administration at that time to say ACICS wasn’t doing their job, because if they had been doing their job they would have seen that coming,” Gressner said referring to ITT Technical Institute’s financial issues before shutting the door on its students.

Gessner tells us without DBU accredited, federal financial aid dollars aren’t available for students, and he believes the colleges that were overseen by ACICS shouldn’t suffer for it.

“It’s very personal, very personal. You know, if we had done something wrong, I’d feel better about it. But we didn’t do anything wrong,” Gessner said.

DBU did try to get accepted with a new accreditor, but Gessner says he turned it down when the accreditor asked for a new business plan that Gessner could not morally come up with give the damage of uncertainty done in Washington that caused current and potential students to flee.

“If I’d a put together a business plan, I’d go to jail because I could not justify. I could not come up with any reason to believe why there was something we could do differently down the road than we were already attempting to do now,” Gessner explained.

Meanwhile, as DBU works with current students to finish their degrees by the government-controlled closing date of June of 2018, Gessner is reflecting on an interaction with a recent graduate of 2017.

“I said are you OK? He said yeah, I tried the public sector and he said I just could never get attention. I couldn’t get it done. But he says, I got it done and you guys even got me a job. He welled up. That’s what it’s all about,” Gessner said.

DBU is not accepting any new students. Staff will work with current students to complete their degrees by June of 2018.

DBU now has the building in West Duluth up for sale at 4724 Mike Colalillo Drive, along Interstate Highway 35.