The Truth About College Mergers
Following the pandemic, colleges across the US are experiencing financial strain, enrollment drops, and overall are struggling to stay afloat. Reports show that in the near future, as many as 500 colleges and universities are at risk of closure, and enrollment has seen anywhere between a 6% and 16% decline in recent years. In addition, fewer US adults considered a college degree to be very important, with percentages dropping from 70% to 51% in just six years. As the value of the college degree itself falls in terms of the hiring process, and employees are still being laid off due to financial conundrums, college mergers have become frankly inevitable.
The process of merging two colleges or universities is one that involves the boards of each institution as well as the stakeholders and the alumni or community network. The main types of mergers involve local institutions, cross-country institutions, online institutions, or even international institutions. The schools most at risk are those within the same state with less than 5,000 students, but studies show that public colleges and universities faced the highest enrollment declines. Therefore, any college is at risk for these changes as we continue to navigate this time of financial strain. Loss of identity, voice, support, and increased costs are only a few of the main concerns that many students have about merging institutions, leading many to ask the question: Is my college next?