The following is a List of defunct universities and colleges in Kansas. This list includes accredited, degree-granting institutions and bona fide institutions of higher learning that operated before accreditation existed. All have hosted their primary campus within the state of Kansas, and all have since discontinued operations or their operations were taken over by another similar institution of higher learning.
Eight of the schools operated for more than 50 years. Brown Mackie College was able to function for 125 years before closing. The shortest length of operation was less than two years by Bethel Bible College (1900–1901), followed by three years for Concordia Normal School (1874–1876). At least four of the schools began operations before Kansas was admitted into the union (January 29, 1861).
Records for several of the schools have yet to be located and verified at this time of this writing to accurately determine how long the schools operated.
One school, Garfield University, actually opened and closed its doors twice.
The earliest verified to open was St. Mary's College in 1848, while the most recent to open was The Way College of Emporia in 1975. The earliest on record to close was Blue Mont Central College in 1863. The most recent four-year college closure was St. Mary of the Plains College in 1992. The most recent two-year programs to close are Wright Career College in 2016 and Brown Mackie College in 2017.
Of the 64 institutes on the list, each chose a different method of naming itself:
Three of the schools have some variation of "Saint Mary" in the name of the school: St. Mary's College, St. Mary of the Plains College, and Marymount. This can become even more confusing because there are two active colleges/universities in Kansas that have some variation of "Saint Mary" in their names: University of Saint Mary (Leavenworth) and St. Mary's College (St. Marys), the latter which is at the same location of one of the previous "Saint Mary" colleges.
Also in the same location and with similar names were The College of Emporia and The Way College of Emporia. The first school ceased operations and then sold the grounds to The Way International, which operated a school afterward. Critics accused the second school of attempting to use the history of the first to give a perception of value and credibility on the second.
Other colleges with similar names include the several normal schools and business colleges. The College of the Sisters of Bethany is somewhat similar in name but otherwise unrelated to Bethany College in Lindsborg.
Aside from the two Emporia colleges, schools that shared locations were the former Kansas Technical Institute and the current Kansas State University – Salina; the site for Garfield University later became Friends University; and St. John's College was located just a few blocks from Southwestern College. Other schools may also have shared property/buildings during location and relocation efforts during closing of the schools.
One school relocated outside of the state: Midland College originated in Atchison and then relocated to Wahoo, Nebraska where it eventually merged with other schools.
Several of the schools maintained active athletic programs during their time of operation.
|Team||School||City||Conference (at time of discontinuation)|
|Brown Mackie-Salina Lions||Brown Mackie College||Salina||Independent|
|College of Emporia Fighting Presbies||College of Emporia||Emporia||Heart of America|
|St. John's Johnnies||St. John's College||Winfield||Kansas|
|St. Mary of the Plains Cavaliers||St. Mary of the Plains||Dodge City||Kansas|
There are a few inclusions in the list that are exceptions to the inclusion rule—most noticeably Utopia College. Utopia did not grant "degrees" but operated as a "college" for an extended period of time. Also, there are multiple business colleges that may not have been considered degree-granting institutions. In the interest of being as complete as possible, such schools are listed.
|Atchison Business College||Atchison||1885||??||Listing found The school fielded a college football team for at least two years (1892 and 1902).|
|Bethel Bible College||Topeka||1900||1901||Sometimes called "Parham School of Tongues" - founded by evangelist Charles Fox Parham.|
|Bissing's Conservatory of Music||Hays
|1901||??||Established by violinist Petrowitsch Bissing, shown operating as of 1918. Began in Hays and relocated later in Topeka.|
|Blue Mont Central College||Manhattan||1858||1863||Kansas State University named Bluemont Hall to honor the College|
|Bresee Theological College||Hutchinson||1905||1940||Closed in 1940 to merge with Bethany-Peniel College.|
|Brown Mackie College||Salina||1892||2017||On June 11, 2016, 22 of 26 Brown Mackie campuses began closing. The remaining campuses were sold in 2017.|
|Campbell College||Holton||1880||1913||Merged with Kansas City University which later also closed|
|Central Normal College||Great Bend||??||??||Independent normal school|
|College of Emporia||Emporia||1882||1974||Nationally known for its College football team's innovative play and success: see College of Emporia Fighting Presbies football|
|College of the Sisters of Bethany||Topeka||1861||1928||Chartered before Kansas became a state. Was originally named Episcopal Female Seminary of Topeka but changed name around the time the school re-chartered in 1870.|
|Concordia Normal School||Concordia||1874||1876||Lost state funding and did not survive. State normal schools were consolidated to what is now Emporia State University|
|Conway Springs Normal and Business College||Conway Springs||??||??||Listing found|
|Draughon's Practical Business College||??||??||??||Listing found|
|Emporia Business College||Emporia||??||??||Listing found|
|Fort Scott Normal School||Fort Scott||1878||??||Sometimes called Kansas Normal School or Kansas Normal School of Fort Scott One student that studied there was born in 1867. Listed as closed in 1905|
|Garfield University||Wichita||1888||1890||Named for United States President James A. Garfield. The school struggled financially from the beginning. Closed once and then re-opened in 1892 officially chartered as "Central Memorial University" but still maintained the name "Garfield"—and closed again. In 1898, passed property to what would become Friends University.|
|G.A.R. Memorial National College||Oberlin||1891||??||Established by five women of the Women's Relief Corps and endorsed by the Grand Army of the Republic posts of Kansas for the free education of soldiers' and sailors' children. It was said to have been the only such college of its kind in the United States.|
|Great Western Business and Normal College||Concordia||1889||??||Founded by L. H. Hausam, sometimes called "Concordia Business College" or "Concordia Normal and Business College"—Private, different than the state operated "Concordia Normal School"|
|Harper Normal and Business College||Harper||??||??||Listed closed as of 1905|
|Highland University||Highland||1856||??||established for the Sac and Fox Nation under the Presbyterian church Highland Community College claims that its roots date back to this university, and thus claim to be "the first College in Kansas."|
|Iola Business College||Iola||1899||??||Listing found|
|Kansas Christian College||Lincoln||1882||1913||Listing found|
|Kansas City Baptist Theological Seminary||Kansas City||1901||??||Later became a part of Central Baptist Theological Seminary of Kansas City.|
|Kansas City College of Physicians and Surgeons||Kansas City||??||1905||Merged with what is now the University of Kansas to become KU Med Center|
|Kansas City University||Kansas City||1896||1933||This school, located in Kansas City, Kansas should not be confused with UMKC, which was also sometimes historically called "Kansas City University" and is located across the state line in Kansas City, Missouri.|
|Kansas Technical Institute||Salina||1965||1991||Merged with Kansas State University to form Kansas State University – Salina College of Technology and Aviation|
|Lane University||Lecompton||1865||1902||Merged with Campbell College which later also closed|
|Lawrence Business College||Lawrence||1869||??||Listing found|
|Leavenworth Business College||Leavenworth||1887||??||Listing found|
|Leavenworth Normal School||Leavenworth||1870||1876||Lost state funding and did not survive, state normal schools were consolidated to what is now Emporia State University|
|Manhattan Business College||Manhattan||1908||1924|||
|Marymount College (Kansas)||Salina||1922||1989||Records sent to St. Mary of the Plains College which also closed (see below)|
|Midland College||Atchison||1887||1962||In 1919, the College moved to Fremont, Nebraska to the site of the former Fremont Normal School and Business College. In 1962, Midland merged with Luther Junior College founded in Wahoo, Nebraska, in 1883. Midland College then became Midland Lutheran College.|
|Miltonvale Wesleyan College||Miltonvale||1909||1972||Ceased operation in 1972 when the school merged with Bartlesville Wesleyan College—later to become a part of Oklahoma Wesleyan University.|
|Modern Normal School||Marysville||??||??||Listed in a directory published in 1905 |
|Moline College||Moline||??||??||Listing found|
|Mount St. Scholastica||Atchison||1923||1971||Merged with St. Benedict's College to form Benedictine College|
|National Business College||Coffeyville||??||??||Listing found|
|National Business College||Hiawatha||??||??||Listing found|
|National Business College||Kansas City||??||??||Listing found|
|Nemaha Commercial College||Seneca||1900||??||Listing found|
|Nickerson Normal School||Nickerson||1898||??||Independent normal school|
|Oswego College for Young Women||Oswego||1883||??||Sometimes referred to as Oswego College or Oswego College for Young Ladies|
|Ottawa Business College||Ottawa||??||??||Listing found|
|Ottumwa College||Ottumwa||1864||1872||Organized by the Methodist Episcopal Church, later under control of the Christian Church. Only building burned to the ground on July 24, 1872.|
|Parsons Business College||Parsons||1892||??||Listing found|
|Pittsburg Business College||Pittsburg||1894||??||Listing found The school had a football team in 1908, losing one game to local college team Pittsburg State University.|
|Salina Normal University||Salina||1884||1904||Destroyed by fire in 1904 and was not rebuilt|
|Salt City Business College||Hutchinson||1897||??||Listing found The school had a football team in 1907 and 1908.|
|Skelton's School of Telegraphy and Railway Business||Salina||1887||1909||Early adopter of teaching both telegraph and typewriter skills to students. Became a Union Pacific Railroad school in 1909 and turned over to Kansas Wesleyan Business College.|
|Soule College||Dodge City||1894||??||Advertised board for $2 per week and tuition for $24 per year.|
|St. Benedict's College||Atchison||1859||1971||Merged with Mount St. Scholastica to form Benedictine College|
|St. John's College||Winfield||1893||1986||Maintains an active alumni association|
|St. Mary of the Plains College||Dodge City||1913||1992||Maintains an active alumni association|
|St. Mary's College||St. Marys||1848||1968||A second College presently exists at the same location also named St. Mary's College"|
|The Way College of Emporia||Emporia||1975||1989||Same location as College of Emporia. Attempted a legal battle to gain the endowment of the previous college and lost. Enrollment dwindled around 90 students.|
|Topeka Business College||Topeka||??||??||Listing found|
|Utopia College||Eureka||1946||1970s||Granted only "certificates"|
|Western Musical Conservatory||Emporia||1871||??||Listing found|
|Western Theological Seminary||Atchison||1893||??||Evangelical Lutheran college, listed as operational as of 1902.|
|Western University||Quindaro||1864||1943||Earliest historically black college or university west of the Mississippi River|
|Wichita Business College||Wichita||1901||??||Listing found The school had a football team in 1901 and 1902.|
|Wichita Commercial College||Wichita||1893||??||Listing found|
|Windsor Commercial College||Fort Scott||1897||??||Listing found|
|Winfield Business and Academic College||Winfield||1894||??||Listing found|
|Wright Career College||Overland Park||1921||2016||Founded in 1921 as Dickinson's Business School. One thousand students and 200 staff members at five campuses locations were affected when the school abruptly closed its doors. All students were notified students by email on a Thursday evening that the school would not be open the next day.|