How some small colleges are lowering prices, increasing scholarships to stay in business
- The Economist profiles the work of several small liberal arts colleges and universities to stay open in the face of financial stress. Marlboro College now offers one student from every state a scholarship and says it has helped enrollment to grow by 6%.
- Nearly half of independent colleges and universities are increasing their rate of tuition discounting, up 38% over the last decade according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO)
- While 40% of institutions have fewer than 1,000 students, most are hoping that the example of Sweet Briar College's survival will spur philanthropic growth to offset increasing endowment spending for scholarships and operations.
The scourge on many small institutions is how their efforts to expand facilities or athletics often creates deficits so large that they are impossible to conquer. This was the case with Saint Paul's College in Lawrenceville, VA, which just a few years after reactivating a football program, eventually buckled under the weight of the financial burden and closed.
Smaller institutions have to find ways to directly address rising payments for facilities and auxiliary projects in order to generate solid revenues from tuition. Fundraising is the ideal way, but mixed use of campus space, increased research grant writing and exposure for companies seeking campus advertising are some of the quickest, non-intrusive ways to find more money in a lean economy.
- The Economist Some small colleges are finding clever ways to stay open