Are more college closures ahead?

Higher Ed Dive 

Natalie Schwartz
April 1, 2021

Dive Brief:

  • The spring term spelled the end for at least three liberal arts colleges, which will soon either cease operating or accepting new students.
  • The colleges — Becker, Mills and Concordia New York — all said the coronavirus pandemic exacerbated existing financial woes.
  • Higher education experts predict more consolidation among all types of colleges and an uptick in closures.

Dive Insight:

In the pandemic’s early days, a slew of pundits predicted the financial strain of moving instruction online and losing key auxiliary revenue would trigger a wave of college closures. Robert Zemsky, an education professor at the University of Pennsylvania, predicted as many as 200 schools could buckle under the pressure in a year.
That hasn’t come to pass, with fewer than a dozen nonprofit college closures announced since the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic, according to Higher Ed Dive’s count. Still, experts say struggling schools must contend with a shrinking pool of traditional-age students and rising tuition discount rates.