Many liberal arts colleges are facing disproportionate financial challenges.
With a surplus of job openings and unemployment numbers at historic lows, it is easier for high school graduates to enter the workforce without a college degree. Coupled with continually rising costs, it’s no wonder Generation Z students are seriously considering if the debt is worth a college degree.
This particularly impacts small post-secondary schools, which suffer more from enrollment slippage than their land grant and large state school counterparts.
While there is no single threshold of decline, it’s safe to say that if enrollment is down more than 30 percent, your school is in the rough water and leadership must make tough decisions to maintain fiscal control.
A school’s reaction to declining enrollments can have a compounding impact. A college suffering a deep decline in enrollment typically feels the need to increase scholarships to attract more students, but this results in lower net revenue. Recognizing discounts aren’t enough is a key first step. But recognition must be quickly followed by decisive action.