Friday, April 19, 2024
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Could College Really Go Out of Business Soon?

Fewer and fewer young people nationwide want to attend college, and, according to experts, this trend might force several institutions of higher learning to close for good.

They might close sooner than you think. 

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli examined these new patterns in a report that he published last week. DiNapoli didn’t just zero in on ongoing problems in New York. He knows what’s happening in the other 49 states too.

“The college-age population that drives enrollments at postsecondary institutions has been dropping as a share of the total population nationally and is forecast to undergo a precipitous drop beginning in 2025 – a looming ‘enrollment cliff,’” DiNapoli wrote.  

“The impact of enrollment declines over the last decade has impacted the finances of several public and private institutions, with a handful of institutions downsizing or closing.”

Higher education enrollment typically grows during or immediately after a recession. 

COVID-19, which caused a brief recession, had the opposite effect. 

In 2022, New York State had 896,000 students enrolled across all of its postsecondary institutions. This was the lowest total enrollment over a 15-year period. Specifically, it was a decline of approximately 73,000 full-time students, or 7.6% since Fall 2008. 

Recently, the College of Saint Rose announced it would close at the end of the Spring 2024 semester. Medaille University closed last August, while Cazenovia College closed in Spring 2023. Those three schools are private.

“Public institutions have also faced challenges. SUNY campuses at Potsdam and Buffalo State University have indicated they would eliminate programs and undertake hiring freezes,” according to DiNapoli’s report.

As reported by the Education Data Initiative, nationwide, the number of total enrolled post-secondary students nationwide declined by 4.9% from 2019 to 2021. This is the most significant rate of decline in enrollment since 1951.

Special thanks to Warhammer’s Wife proofreading this story before publication to make certain there were no misspellings, grammatical errors or other embarrassing mistakes and/or typosFollow Warhammer on Twitter @Real_Warhammer