The Culling of Higher Ed Begins

It has become trendy to predict that higher education is on the verge of a major collapse, what with enrollments falling as loan debt and rising tuition cause students and families to ask harder questions about the value of a college credential.

The most extreme predictions envision hundreds and even thousands of colleges and universities closing over a decade or so. But more even-keeled analysts also have foreseen increases in the number of failing institutions: Moody’s Investors Service in 2015, for instance, said closures and mergers of small institutions would triple and double, respectively, in the coming years.

New federal data suggest the increasing financial pressures may be starting to take a toll on institutions. An annual report from the Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics shows that the number of colleges and universities eligible to award federal financial aid to their students fell by 5.6 percent from 2015-16 to 2016-17. That’s the fourth straight decline since a peak of 7,416 institutions in 2012-13. It is also by far the largest (the others were 0.3, 1.2 and 2.0 percent, in order).

Read more at Inside Higher Ed: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/07/19/number-colleges-and-universities-drops-sharply-amid-economic-turmoil