Financial woes continue to plague colleges of all sizes

Dive Brief:

  • Colleges and universities throughout the country face numerous challenges in the coming years, according to the Washington Post. One concern is the increased gap between the wealth of the richest colleges and other schools. The 20 wealthiest private universities in the country hold 70% of the wealth of all private in higher ed.
  • At the same time, nearly one third of institutions at the other end of the spectrum are operating in a deficit. Some schools have seen declines in enrollment, and have had to offer bigger tuition discounts, leaving net tuition revenue down at almost one-third of private colleges in the past year.
  • Public flagship universities are increasingly accepting larger numbers of out-of-state applicants, leading some critics to suggest that these schools are favoring out-of-state wealthier students who would not require financial aid in lieu of supporting in-state students, who often pay less tuition.

Dive Insight:

There are numerous potential options for school leaders to consider in the face of growing deficits and declining enrollment. Many small universities are reconsidering their mission to expand the number of potential enrollees. Small, selective colleges with sterling reputations may increase their enrollment if the potential pool of applicants is expanded. Schools could also try to find and fund amenities that will be attractive to potential students and will help them stand out from other colleges and universities; the investment could pay off with an uptick in enrollment for struggling schools. Also, the use of VR, social media and tech can help expand the pool of enrollees to those who may never set foot on campus prior to the first day of college.

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Filed Under: Higher Ed
Top image credit: Flickr; Will Hart