Student enrollment falls at colleges and universities that are placed on probation

The Conversation 

Christopher Burnett
September 13, 2022
The big idea
Whenever a college or university gets sanctioned by the agency that provides its accreditation, fewer students enroll in that school. That’s what I found in a study in which I examined whether the sanctions influence how students decide which schools to attend.
In my analysis, I looked at whether schools given a warning or placed on probation had lower enrollment over the next six years. Using 13 years of data from 847 colleges and universities accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, I found between 5% and 10% lower enrollment after the schools were sanctioned. Additionally, the lower enrollment occurred in the second, third and fourth years after the sanction.
My study looked at two types of sanctions a school can face: warning or probation. Warning is the less serious of the two and means that the school needs to address whatever concerns were identified, or risk probation. Probation means that the institution is at risk of losing accreditation without improvement.