In the News: New England’s Smallest Colleges Are Struggling

Laura Krantz of the Boston Globe reports that a review of financial conditions at New England’s small private colleges finds a number of warning signs.

Tuition revenue is failing to keep up with expenses at more than half of the schools, she notes.

In an article in the Fall 2018 issue of Education Next, Stephen Eide explores the forces working against small colleges nationwide. In “Private Colleges in Peril” he writes:

Elite schools are not in trouble; they can count on deep applicant pools and practically limitless resources from their endowments and alumni networks. Public college systems, though not without their own fiscal challenges, are ultimately backed by the government’s power to tax. But small mid-tier private schools tend to have modest endowments, and after decades of tuition hikes comparable to those of their elite peers, are now dangerously at risk of pricing themselves out of the market. Their problems will soon be compounded by demographic realities: the college-age population is expected to decline over the coming decades, leading to even tighter competition for students. The storm has yet to break in full, but a recent spate of closings and mergers may signal greater turbulence to come for the private nonprofit sector, whose 1,700 institutions enroll about 30 percent of all students attending four-year colleges.

— Education Next

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