It’s hard to imagine that an institution as cemented in society as colleges and universities are starting to collapse, but it’s not something without a cause, and it’s certainly not every college in the nation. At the base of the issue is financial concerns, but the root causes behind these financial worries are much more complicated.
The number one type of school right now at risk of closure are chrisitan-affiliated schools. These schools are indicative of the larger issue that colleges at large are facing, decreasing enrollment rates. Overall undergrad enrollment has seen a decrease of 9.4% since the pandemic. A rate that has not started to slow as the pandemic has.
The cause of this, beyond the pandemic and the issues it caused, is the declining value of a college education. One in six college graduates are making less than their high school graduate counterparts, even after 10 years in the workforce. U.S citizens recognize this as well, only 51% saying a college degree is very important in comparison to the 70% that said they were in 2013.
It then comes at no surprise that some colleges are struggling to find students, and consequently funding. While for many this means closure, some have turned to the option of a merger. College mergers see one college joining another in an effort to retain some sort of identity and to continue into the future.
While mergers commonly lead to some loss of identity and voice, it gives students and staff alike a place to be instead of being left stranded as those at closed colleges are. Regardless, the fate of struggling schools isn’t an easy one, and it seems that more and more are starting to struggle year after year.