I’ve been predicting this for a while now.
Even with tuition rates soaring, many colleges are still searching under the proverbial sofa cushions to paper over gaps in their operating budgets. As the Chronicle of Higher Education reports, some are downsizing staff, while others are slashing athletic programs and even selling off buildings. Over the past six months alone, ten schools have cut hundreds of positions, and it appears likely that more schools will follow their footsteps as the year progresses.
It’s going to get worse. Think about it. Enrollments have been dropping despite the following:
- an unprecedented building campaign to improve campuses
- unprecedented marketing tools
- Huge investments in technology
- Unprecedented sums of money available for federal student loans.
Against this is the following:
- The size of the college age population has begun to taper.
- The price of college has skyrocketed (+ 100% over the last 10 years.)
- Getting a degree is not a sure bet at a good career anymore.
So what is going to happen when colleges have to cut back on their facilities and technology improvements? The only thing that will get students back to college is to make it much cheaper and to unbundle it from degrees. Make it cheap and ala carte and people will come back. Students are not as willing to take the gamble to take on massive debt to have a better life.
Colleges and universities are governed by economics just like everything else. It’s about time they started to act like it.
See more: Are Universities Too Big To Fail?