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Colleges in Dire Financial Straits

Started by Hibush, May 17, 2019, 05:35:11 PM

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Parasaurolophus

University of Kent (UK): they're closing their (quite respectable) philosophy department, which will surely help.

Queen's (Canada): its catchment area is the provincial government's voting base, so I imagine they'll muddle through.

Manhattan College: laying off 25% of their faculty!?
I know it's a genus.

larix

Quote from: Parasaurolophus on February 12, 2024, 04:13:01 PMQueen's (Canada): its catchment area is the provincial government's voting base, so I imagine they'll muddle through.

True, though I think they are going to be in a bind (as will many Canadian Universities) after this decision
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ontario-canada-international-student-visas-study-permits-1.7094095

Parasaurolophus

Quote from: larix on February 12, 2024, 04:42:52 PM
Quote from: Parasaurolophus on February 12, 2024, 04:13:01 PMQueen's (Canada): its catchment area is the provincial government's voting base, so I imagine they'll muddle through.

True, though I think they are going to be in a bind (as will many Canadian Universities) after this decision
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ontario-canada-international-student-visas-study-permits-1.7094095


Yeah, it won't help. Mine is screwed, because although we're a public and, therefore, nominally reputable, fully 40% of our student body is international students. =/
I know it's a genus.

apl68

Quote from: Parasaurolophus on February 12, 2024, 04:13:01 PMManhattan College: laying off 25% of their faculty!?


There has also been a faculty vote of no-confidence in the college's president:


https://www.ncronline.org/news/catholic-college-faculty-vote-no-confidence-president-after-program-cuts-layoffs


So...another Catholic college dropping its religious studies and philosophy major to cut costs?  There goes any historically distinct mission niche they might have had.  Will they have anything left to attract students, besides the sorts of generic business and professional programs that can be found anywhere?

They've lost something like a sixth of their enrollment in five years.  Maintaining a campus in New York City must be obscenely expensive.  Hard to see how they can survive the familiar combination of rising costs and declining enrollment.
If any will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it.
For how does a man profit if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul?

downer

Manhattan College: according to Wikipedia, its 2021 graduating numbers were:
Civil Engineering (89)
Mechanical Engineering (73)
Marketing (47)
Communication (44)
Finance (38)
Psychology (37)

Look at those low numbers. Two years ago they had 3,166 students total. I imagine students are leaving in droves and any faculty who can leave are leaving. So it's rather immaterial which majors they are cutting this year.
"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."—Sinclair Lewis

apl68

After this, it's likely the loss of students will accelerate. Cuts as drastic and embarrassing as those at Manhattan will surely make prospective students and parents lose confidence that it's a safe school to attend.

Wonder whether anybody has done any studies regarding tipping points at which a financially troubled school falls over the edge and becomes clearly doomed? 
If any will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it.
For how does a man profit if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul?

selecter

I wish. If so, I'd love to see it. "Clearly doomed" and "circling the drain" can be the same thing for a long, long time. And then, (College of St. Rose), boom, it's over.

I do think there are such harbingers, but I think so many schools are at risk and in denial they are hard to see.

dismalist

"How did you go bankrupt?" Bill asked.

"Two ways," Mike said. "Gradually and then suddenly."

--Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises, 1926.
That's not even wrong!
--Wolfgang Pauli

apl68

Unfortunately there have been enough closures in recent years for a researcher to have plenty of cases to study for patterns.
If any will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it.
For how does a man profit if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul?


downer

Probably the credit rating of a college is a good sign of its future. The people who assign credit ratings have some incentive to pay attention to what is going on.
"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."—Sinclair Lewis

Hibush

Quote from: apl68 on February 14, 2024, 12:42:15 PMUnfortunately there have been enough closures in recent years for a researcher to have plenty of cases to study for patterns.
There isn't really a need to do that. The pathology is well known and there are many resources for administrators and trustees to assess their institution. https://cic.edu/insights/benchmarking-services/
https://www.bain.com/insights/financially-resilient-university/

There are many ratings of institutional financial condition, such as https://www.forbes.com/sites/emmawhitford/2023/04/26/forbes-2023-college-financial-grades-the-strongest-and-weakest-colleges/

It is not that difficult to find out if a schools is at risk for oblivion. What is difficult is accepting that it is at risk and acting rationally to that information.


Wahoo Redux

Quote from: apl68 on February 13, 2024, 09:47:02 AM
Quote from: Parasaurolophus on February 12, 2024, 04:13:01 PMManhattan College: laying off 25% of their faculty!?


There has also been a faculty vote of no-confidence in the college's president:


https://www.ncronline.org/news/catholic-college-faculty-vote-no-confidence-president-after-program-cuts-layoffs


So...another Catholic college dropping its religious studies and philosophy major to cut costs?  There goes any historically distinct mission niche they might have had.  Will they have anything left to attract students, besides the sorts of generic business and professional programs that can be found anywhere?

They've lost something like a sixth of their enrollment in five years.  Maintaining a campus in New York City must be obscenely expensive.  Hard to see how they can survive the familiar combination of rising costs and declining enrollment.

These are some pretty accomplished faculty if you read their bios.  In an "ordinary" year they would stand pretty well on the job market, I would think.  I suspect most of them will have to look for non-academic work or retire early now.
Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To flutter--and the Bird is on the Wing.

Hibush

Quote from: Wahoo Redux on February 14, 2024, 09:02:19 PMThese [Mahnattan college professors] are some pretty accomplished faculty if you read their bios.  In an "ordinary" year they would stand pretty well on the job market, I would think.  I suspect most of them will have to look for non-academic work or retire early now.

Given the number of higher-ed jobs in that city and environs, the faculty should have a better-than-usual chance of finding a faculty position within commuting distance.

The students are in engineering, and in marketing, communication and finance. NYC has a lot of high-paying private-sector jobs in those fields.

The impact on the faculty is likely to be lower than when comparably sized schools close in rural areas.

spork

Quote from: Hibush on February 14, 2024, 05:16:13 PM
Quote from: apl68 on February 14, 2024, 12:42:15 PMUnfortunately there have been enough closures in recent years for a researcher to have plenty of cases to study for patterns.
There isn't really a need to do that. The pathology is well known and there are many resources for administrators and trustees to assess their institution. https://cic.edu/insights/benchmarking-services/
https://www.bain.com/insights/financially-resilient-university/

There are many ratings of institutional financial condition, such as https://www.forbes.com/sites/emmawhitford/2023/04/26/forbes-2023-college-financial-grades-the-strongest-and-weakest-colleges/

It is not that difficult to find out if a schools is at risk for oblivion. What is difficult is accepting that it is at risk and acting rationally to that information.



And this is a "skill" that ought to be taught to junior faculty and to doctoral students thinking of academic employment. It's quite easy to identify whether one's prospective or actual employer is headed toward insolvency by looking at IRS Form 990s and IPEDS. Too many academics have their heads in the sand when it comes to organizational finances.

To your list of resources above, I'll add these:

https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2017/06/06/signs-institution-path-toward-unrecoverable-failure-essay

https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2019/07/11/potential-indicator-colleges-may-face-major-financial-challenges-opinion
It's terrible writing, used to obfuscate the fact that the authors actually have nothing to say.