Will the College you Choose be Closing?

by | Aug 3, 2021 | College Planning | 0 comments

COVID isn’t the only factor that has wreaked havoc on college enrollment. Recent and forecasted demographic shifts are causing colleges to eliminate programs, reduce class offerings, and, in some cases, close campuses. In a recent Money magazine article, “Before Choosing a College, Make Sure it Will Exist in 10 Years,” Michael Kabbaz reports that “last year, more than 50% of colleges missed their enrollment goals.” Very recently, Marquette University (WI), the University of Evansville IN), and the College of St. Rose (NY) announced a reduction in dozens of programs including: philosophy and religion, math, chemistry, art and design. Humanities majors have always been on the chopping block when budgets and enrollments decrease, but even majors like electrical engineering and computer science aren’t safe. Regional population shifts, decreasing numbers of high school graduates, and a general public distrust in the true value of an expensive college degree all combine to create anxiety for institutions. Schools with larger endowments and robust online programming are likely to weather the storm, but smaller, private, niche schools will face greater challenges. So, what is a recent high school graduate to do? How should an applicant weigh this information and use it as they make their college lists? Kabbaz lists a few suggestions for students (and their parents): Research enrollment trends at the selected schools; Are the schools offering deals that are “too good to be true,” as this might indicate desperation for enrollment?; Check to see if the school offers graduate programs—this is usually a sign of a stronger, more stable, institution; Find out about the school’s “discount rate”—a percentage of monies offered to incoming freshman each year. If this percentage exceeds 50%, that could be troublesome; and, finally, try to determine a school’s endowment. A good college consultant will consider these factors when helping students build their college lists. Students need to do their due diligence when researching schools and these are new issues to consider. In the same way that automation trends cause people to think about which jobs are going to be available in the next decade, students also need to consider if the school they choose to prepare for that career will also be viable.

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