In the aftermath of the Covid-19 closure, colleges across the nation are facing a financial strain. Since the pandemic, undergraduate enrollment dropped by 9.4%, and up to 40% of prospective students are now delaying college plans due to financial concerns. A shifting sentiment regarding a college education may also be at fault. In 2013, 70% of US adults believed a college education was very important. In 2019, that number fell to 51%.
Although the US government invested $76 billion to help these educational institutions survive, as many as 500 colleges and universities are currently at risk of closure. Universities were forced to furlough employees, who then found new positions or early retirement offers. Additionally, 56% of US colleges are worried about serving students with current staffing levels. However, some colleges have found a solution: mergers.
A college merger is when two colleges or universities combine to provide a student a new educational experience, predominantly done by private and non-profit schools with fewer students. This form of consolidation has been proven to streamline operations and reduce competition for students. For example, The University of Wisconsin restructured its 2 year colleges to help students eventually transfer to one of its universities. While mergers may come with some risks, such as a loss of identity in smaller schools, they are often necessary to keep said school afloat.
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