The financial predicament of institutions of higher learning will lead to changes in the nation’s university and colleges, according to a new study.
Those changes could mean advantages for college students as universities seek new ways to attract students.
For example, Hope College in Michigan is offering to pay half the cost of plane ticket, up to $300, plus transportation, housing and food costs for potential students to visit the campus.
Other universities are offering discounts on tuition, particularly the smaller schools that are having the most financial difficulties, according to a report from Bain & Company.
In a report on the study, the Hechinger Report – an independent education news site – wrote that some schools may face going out of business if changes are not made. In its report, Bain & Company concluded that a “growing number” of colleges and universities already face tough financial situations.
The report points to the recent closings of some schools that were found by the U.S. Department of Education to be financial unstable, including Saint Paul’s College in Virginia, Lon Morris College in Texas, Atlantic Union College in Massachusetts and Chester College in New Hampshire.
Because ballooning tuition costs are reducing the number of students enrolling, many schools are offering tuition discounts – good for students in the short term, but tough for the institution in the long term, according to the Bain & Company study.
While some schools offer discounts, the overall tuition price continues to inflate as colleges try to keep up with costs. Julie Richardson, the dean of admissions at Hampshire College in Massachusetts, told Hechinger Report she fears the annual cost for college will reach $75,000 in a decade.
“That’s a number that begins to concern a lot of people,” she said.
Robert Zemsky, author of “Checklist for Change” and chairman of the Learning Alliance for Higher Education, told the Hechinger Report that faculty are part of the problem because many are hoping “ things will just get better.”
Another issue, according to Zemsky, is that the upper tier schools are “doing just fine, thank you. And historically it’s the top of the industry that has led change. So the real question is, how do you get the top of the industry fully engaged in this?”
Zemsky, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, said trying to scare the bigger colleges into making changes won’t work because they know they are not going out of business anytime soon.
“Because, you know, I’m at the University of Pennsylvania. Let me tell you, the one thing I don’t worry about is, Penn isn’t going out of business. Don’t frighten me with that one. That’s not going to work.”