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Difficulties Private Schools are finding in the 21st Century
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DawgNBama Offline
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Difficulties Private Schools are finding in the 21st Century
I wanted to reply to this topic on the thread about Lincoln College in Illinois closing down, but my comment would have been off topic, so I am starting a new thread altogether.

(05-10-2022 06:02 PM)johnintx Wrote:  
(05-10-2022 09:42 AM)billybobby777 Wrote:  If this 150 year old college in central Illinois that had 1200 students in 2021 can’t make it, I wonder how worse off schools in Illinois can?

As discussed on another thread, Lincoln is a unique situation. They were a private junior college from 1929 to 2015. There are very few private junior colleges left. In an attempt to stay open, they added four-year degrees in 2015.

So, with 86 years as a junior college, they were not able to build the alumni base or endowment needed to make it through hard times. When Covid and the cyberattack hit together, they were unable to bounce back.

However, these are indeed tough times for small private colleges. Those with higher endowments, a specific base of support, and a defined niche will be able to survive.

Johnintx, regarding that defined niche, I believe that is partly why Pensacola Christian College has been able to do well all these years. I can tell you right now that back when I was trying to enroll in a college, because I was homeschooled, only one college bothered to recruit me when I graduated: PCC (Pensacola Christian College). My dad wanted me to go to a community college for a year or two, and I actually wanted to go to one as well. However, it was extremely challenging just to try to get into the community college just a 5 minutes drive from my house (Wallace Community College-Dothan). I had to enlist the headmaster of Northside Methodist Academy (well known private school in Dothan where I had a few connections) to help me out just so I could enroll at the community college !!!!

Even though I graduated from the University of Montevallo, a traditional, four-yearstate school, I never forgot PCC (Pensacola Christian College), and promote them when I can, but I can honestly say that they do have a niche.
(This post was last modified: 05-11-2022 01:54 PM by DawgNBama.)
05-11-2022 01:38 PM
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RE: Difficulties Private Schools are finding in the 21st Century
Pensacola Christian is a 4-year school and has been for some time. There's still a handful of private JUCOs around, though some, like Spartanburg Methodist, have started offering at least limited bachelors degrees. I'm not really sure what the value proposition is for a private JUCO.
05-11-2022 02:06 PM
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RE: Difficulties Private Schools are finding in the 21st Century
Top private schools at this point seem immune...but the smallish, non-elite schools are definitely in trouble.
05-11-2022 04:20 PM
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RE: Difficulties Private Schools are finding in the 21st Century
Yeah small schools have gone out of business or merged for years. I don't think this is some apocalyptic issue.
05-11-2022 04:25 PM
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RE: Difficulties Private Schools are finding in the 21st Century
I think a lot are poorly managed and not creative enough. I know small of private colleges that have been way worse off than most of these that have been closing lately that have pulled themselves back up.

A lot of these schools fold and didn’t really need to, but it seems like no one has the will to do what’s necessary to survive. And perhaps we are better off without the ones that are closing.
05-12-2022 02:33 AM
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RE: Difficulties Private Schools are finding in the 21st Century
There has been such a tilt toward STEM careers the last couple of decades which are not a strength of the private colleges.
05-12-2022 08:52 AM
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RE: Difficulties Private Schools are finding in the 21st Century
I also think that people are becoming more aware of student debt. Even though they usually offer scholarships/aid, a lot of these small private schools still can run you a total of ~$40k or so per year, while a state school (that's probably more well known), is gonna cost you half of that.
05-12-2022 08:55 AM
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RE: Difficulties Private Schools are finding in the 21st Century
(05-12-2022 08:55 AM)TDenverFan Wrote:  I also think that people are becoming more aware of student debt. Even though they usually offer scholarships/aid, a lot of these small private schools still can run you a total of ~$40k or so per year, while a state school (that's probably more well known), is gonna cost you half of that.

Agreed. There are a lot of factors in play (such as the aforementioned focus on STEM degrees and brand value), but perceived cost-to-value of these private schools is likely the biggest factor of them all.

The thing about the education industry is that the pricing is akin to an airplane flight: everyone is paying a different price.

For the top 5%-10% of the income scale, they're likely paying full price without any need-based financial aid at top schools. (Of course, higher income households are more likely to live in better public school districts or send their kids to better private schools, so that translates into higher income households receiving a disproportionate amount of merit-based scholarships at schools once you get beyond the top Ivy/Ivy-level tier.)

For the middle to lower range of income, though, college education pricing often has an inverse relationship to quality: they're paying less to go to an Ivy League school than to their in-state flagship and, in turn, they're paying less to go to their in-state flagship than a lower-ranked private school.

Think of it this way as applied to cars: if a Lexus was actually cheaper than the equivalent Toyota, wouldn't every rational person take the Lexus? Furthermore, if a Toyota was actually cheaper than the equivalent Yugo*, wouldn't every rational person take the Toyota?

(* I know that Yugos aren't actually made anymore, but that is still the brand that comes to my mind as a cheap low quality car.)

That car scenario is what is effectively happening in the education industry. It's an extremely difficult (if not impossible) trend to reverse since it takes decades to reverse a school's academic prestige standing (to the extent that it's even possible) and many of these schools don't have that kind of time for a turnaround.
(This post was last modified: 05-12-2022 09:26 AM by Frank the Tank.)
05-12-2022 09:25 AM
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RE: Difficulties Private Schools are finding in the 21st Century
(05-11-2022 04:25 PM)BigEastMike Wrote:  Yeah small schools have gone out of business or merged for years. I don't think this is some apocalyptic issue.

I don't know what qualified as "apocalyptic" in this case, but it's going to accelerate tremendously. There is a coming cliff where college enrollment is going to drop significantly; enrollment is expected to drop by 15% in 2025 compared to 2019 and will continue to decline for some time.

Combine the decreased demand with sensitivity to student loans for non-prestigious private schools, and you're going to see more and more small colleges forced to close. My parents' alma mater is a small D-3 school in Georgia and the oldest private school in the state. The school normally enrolls 400 or so students per entering class; this year their entering class was about 100. They aren't alone in this.

The problem is figuring out the value proposition for small private schools that aren't prestigious. You go to private schools for two reasons: high quality education and networking. It absolutely pays to go to an Ivy League/equivalent and to schools with strong reputations like SMU. But to random small town private college that doesn't have a reputation outside of its area? I just can't find the value in it.

Also, worth noting with this enrollment cliff coming, regional public schools are going to be negatively affected as well. Students are increasingly looking at college as an experience that they're buying. The demand is for all the amenities that state flagships offer versus random smaller public universities.

A lot of the D-2 type public schools are going to take a beating in the next decade, especially in states where the population is already smaller and there's a bunch of small regional schools that barely get by as is. The students will flow uphill...the state flagship (and major urban schools like UCF, Houston, etc.) will not lower enrollment. So some students that might have gone to Georgia State today will end up at Georgia, and students that might have gone to West Georgia will end up at Georgia State (this is just illustrative). States that have a bunch of these smaller schools should start looking at consolidation like Pennsylvania and Georgia...there's no reason that Arkansas needs two university systems (UArk and A-State; plus several public schools that are not part of those systems) totaling 10 public universities and with both university systems also running a community college system plus numerous public community colleges that exist outside of both systems as well.
(This post was last modified: 05-12-2022 11:10 AM by CitrusUCF.)
05-12-2022 11:05 AM
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RE: Difficulties Private Schools are finding in the 21st Century
Lyon College in Arkansas (NAIA) is reportedly in trouble. They don’t have a well defined niche, have small enrollment, the now past president alienated the community when he told the Chronicle of Higher Education the school was in a community full of angry disenfranchised people with a large white supremacist population. Said a local Trump rally was like the 1/6 insurrection mob minus the shaman.

They’ve added football and partnered with Arkansas State University to offer ROTC. Currently working with investors looking to start pharmacy school and veterinary school and want to “lease” a name from a college for branding. Schools would be 2 hours from their campus.

Rumor is they’ve tried to sell their campus to state supported schools but there is a University of Arkansas Community College campus in town so not a lot of potential there as a new campus (though it is a beautiful campus). University of Arkansas isn’t going to buy it when they already have the presence they want, and none of the other state universities are likely to be interested because they would be more interested in the niche UACC already fills.
05-12-2022 11:21 AM
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RE: Difficulties Private Schools are finding in the 21st Century
(05-12-2022 11:05 AM)CitrusUCF Wrote:  
(05-11-2022 04:25 PM)BigEastMike Wrote:  Yeah small schools have gone out of business or merged for years. I don't think this is some apocalyptic issue.

I don't know what qualified as "apocalyptic" in this case, but it's going to accelerate tremendously. There is a coming cliff where college enrollment is going to drop significantly; enrollment is expected to drop by 15% in 2025 compared to 2019 and will continue to decline for some time.

Combine the decreased demand with sensitivity to student loans for non-prestigious private schools, and you're going to see more and more small colleges forced to close. My parents' alma mater is a small D-3 school in Georgia and the oldest private school in the state. The school normally enrolls 400 or so students per entering class; this year their entering class was about 100. They aren't alone in this.

The problem is figuring out the value proposition for small private schools that aren't prestigious. You go to private schools for two reasons: high quality education and networking. It absolutely pays to go to an Ivy League/equivalent and to schools with strong reputations like SMU. But to random small town private college that doesn't have a reputation outside of its area? I just can't find the value in it.

Also, worth noting with this enrollment cliff coming, regional public schools are going to be negatively affected as well. Students are increasingly looking at college as an experience that they're buying. The demand is for all the amenities that state flagships offer versus random smaller public universities.

A lot of the D-2 type public schools are going to take a beating in the next decade, especially in states where the population is already smaller and there's a bunch of small regional schools that barely get by as is. The students will flow uphill...the state flagship (and major urban schools like UCF, Houston, etc.) will not lower enrollment. So some students that might have gone to Georgia State today will end up at Georgia, and students that might have gone to West Georgia will end up at Georgia State (this is just illustrative). States that have a bunch of these smaller schools should start looking at consolidation like Pennsylvania and Georgia...there's no reason that Arkansas needs two university systems (UArk and A-State; plus several public schools that are not part of those systems) totaling 10 public universities and with both university systems also running a community college system plus numerous public community colleges that exist outside of both systems as well.

IMO, you have bought into Frank Broyles' intentional hogwash about the state of Arkansas. Again, all of this is in my opinion, but if the state of New Mexico can have two public university systems, so can the state of Arkansas. Now, outside of Arkansas Tech which does serve a niche within the state of Arkansas, it may be time to look at a few of these smaller university systems, key words here a few .

Pennsylvania is already looking at consolidation, but when you have a giant university with at least twenty campuses, if not forty, (see Penn State University), you have to question why they need that many campuses!! IMO, Penn State really should be looking at consolidation much more so than even PASSHE should!!! But PSU won't do it and can't be forced to do it either due to its unique status within the state of Pennsylvania.
Georgia has already been doing some consolidation as well, but politics plays a role here because some of the HBCU campuses are campuses that could be consolidated. Some HBCU campuses are just fine and serve a valuable purpose, like Alabama A&M. Land grant school located near Huntsville that is quickly becoming a college choice for young adults for the city I live in, and not just for black folks, but for white people also!!! I wish more HBCU's would be like Alabama A&M, but that's just me.
05-12-2022 01:12 PM
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RE: Difficulties Private Schools are finding in the 21st Century
(05-12-2022 11:05 AM)CitrusUCF Wrote:  
(05-11-2022 04:25 PM)BigEastMike Wrote:  Yeah small schools have gone out of business or merged for years. I don't think this is some apocalyptic issue.

I don't know what qualified as "apocalyptic" in this case, but it's going to accelerate tremendously. There is a coming cliff where college enrollment is going to drop significantly; enrollment is expected to drop by 15% in 2025 compared to 2019 and will continue to decline for some time.

Combine the decreased demand with sensitivity to student loans for non-prestigious private schools, and you're going to see more and more small colleges forced to close. My parents' alma mater is a small D-3 school in Georgia and the oldest private school in the state. The school normally enrolls 400 or so students per entering class; this year their entering class was about 100. They aren't alone in this.

The problem is figuring out the value proposition for small private schools that aren't prestigious. You go to private schools for two reasons: high quality education and networking. It absolutely pays to go to an Ivy League/equivalent and to schools with strong reputations like SMU. But to random small town private college that doesn't have a reputation outside of its area? I just can't find the value in it.

Also, worth noting with this enrollment cliff coming, regional public schools are going to be negatively affected as well. Students are increasingly looking at college as an experience that they're buying. The demand is for all the amenities that state flagships offer versus random smaller public universities.

A lot of the D-2 type public schools are going to take a beating in the next decade, especially in states where the population is already smaller and there's a bunch of small regional schools that barely get by as is. The students will flow uphill...the state flagship (and major urban schools like UCF, Houston, etc.) will not lower enrollment. So some students that might have gone to Georgia State today will end up at Georgia, and students that might have gone to West Georgia will end up at Georgia State (this is just illustrative). States that have a bunch of these smaller schools should start looking at consolidation like Pennsylvania and Georgia...there's no reason that Arkansas needs two university systems (UArk and A-State; plus several public schools that are not part of those systems) totaling 10 public universities and with both university systems also running a community college system plus numerous public community colleges that exist outside of both systems as well.

Arkansas struggles mightily with improving the number of people with at least a bachelor’s degree and UArk pulling more than half it’s freshman class from outside the state doesn’t help that much.

The public colleges struggling in Arkansas are Arkansas-Pine Bluff an HBCU located in the second fastest shrinking metro in the country. Henderson State which long branded as a public liberal arts, located in the declining population south part of the state at a time when demand for a traditional liberal arts degree is falling and the situation not helped by past administration propping up enrollment by allowing students to enroll with significant outstanding bills.

UAM and SAU are small but seem efficient about it, again declining population areas and Arkansas legislature will insure their survival. Arkansas Tech has seen a decline after rapid growth, another county losing population but Tech seems to be fine.

The only schools located in areas with growing population are UArk, AState, Central Arkansas and Ark-Little Rock. Of them only LR is really struggling but that’s because their bread and butter niche for decades was degree completion and night masters programs both getting beaten up by online programs, the suburbanites don’t like going into the area at night.

They’ve got figure out their new thing because the dorm investments didn’t do it. Also not helped by fact Pulaski Tech community college is now in the UA system so the value seeker gets an associates there before going to UALR and UArk Fayetteville opened up a downtown degree completion program.

UArk board really needs to float some programs around between Pulaski Tech, UAMS, and UALR because it’s getting messy having three (now four with Fayetteville degree center) schools in the same county, same system somewhat competing with each other.
05-12-2022 02:07 PM
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RE: Difficulties Private Schools are finding in the 21st Century
(05-12-2022 01:12 PM)DawgNBama Wrote:  
(05-12-2022 11:05 AM)CitrusUCF Wrote:  
(05-11-2022 04:25 PM)BigEastMike Wrote:  Yeah small schools have gone out of business or merged for years. I don't think this is some apocalyptic issue.

I don't know what qualified as "apocalyptic" in this case, but it's going to accelerate tremendously. There is a coming cliff where college enrollment is going to drop significantly; enrollment is expected to drop by 15% in 2025 compared to 2019 and will continue to decline for some time.

Combine the decreased demand with sensitivity to student loans for non-prestigious private schools, and you're going to see more and more small colleges forced to close. My parents' alma mater is a small D-3 school in Georgia and the oldest private school in the state. The school normally enrolls 400 or so students per entering class; this year their entering class was about 100. They aren't alone in this.

The problem is figuring out the value proposition for small private schools that aren't prestigious. You go to private schools for two reasons: high quality education and networking. It absolutely pays to go to an Ivy League/equivalent and to schools with strong reputations like SMU. But to random small town private college that doesn't have a reputation outside of its area? I just can't find the value in it.

Also, worth noting with this enrollment cliff coming, regional public schools are going to be negatively affected as well. Students are increasingly looking at college as an experience that they're buying. The demand is for all the amenities that state flagships offer versus random smaller public universities.

A lot of the D-2 type public schools are going to take a beating in the next decade, especially in states where the population is already smaller and there's a bunch of small regional schools that barely get by as is. The students will flow uphill...the state flagship (and major urban schools like UCF, Houston, etc.) will not lower enrollment. So some students that might have gone to Georgia State today will end up at Georgia, and students that might have gone to West Georgia will end up at Georgia State (this is just illustrative). States that have a bunch of these smaller schools should start looking at consolidation like Pennsylvania and Georgia...there's no reason that Arkansas needs two university systems (UArk and A-State; plus several public schools that are not part of those systems) totaling 10 public universities and with both university systems also running a community college system plus numerous public community colleges that exist outside of both systems as well.

IMO, you have bought into Frank Broyles' intentional hogwash about the state of Arkansas. Again, all of this is in my opinion, but if the state of New Mexico can have two public university systems, so can the state of Arkansas. Now, outside of Arkansas Tech which does serve a niche within the state of Arkansas, it may be time to look at a few of these smaller university systems, key words here a few .

Pennsylvania is already looking at consolidation, but when you have a giant university with at least twenty campuses, if not forty, (see Penn State University), you have to question why they need that many campuses!! IMO, Penn State really should be looking at consolidation much more so than even PASSHE should!!! But PSU won't do it and can't be forced to do it either due to its unique status within the state of Pennsylvania.
Georgia has already been doing some consolidation as well, but politics plays a role here because some of the HBCU campuses are campuses that could be consolidated. Some HBCU campuses are just fine and serve a valuable purpose, like Alabama A&M. Land grant school located near Huntsville that is quickly becoming a college choice for young adults for the city I live in, and not just for black folks, but for white people also!!! I wish more HBCU's would be like Alabama A&M, but that's just me.

Arkansas has been dangling some really small carrots to encourage consolidation but there is no interest in fewer campuses, in fact the push is for more where feasible.

Arkansas has an extensive community college program with some in the UArk system, some in AState, one or two in Southern Arkansas System several still independent.

The community colleges offer not just the usual Associates and Certificate programs but generally also offer more trade school type certifications, like John Deere technician, certified welding, HVAC, etc. Most offer some bachelor’s programs on campus via one of the four year schools or in some cases have programs via more than one four year school.

Town my parents are from is bringing in a new factory with about 200 jobs. Local branch campus of a nearby community college has contract to do their training in addition to the existing associates programs and trade programs like culinary arts, LPN, EMT type stuff.

State offers training money to businesses relocating that generally runs through the local community college. State is pushing idea of having close access for people who want to advance their career with a certification, associates, or bachelor’s degree without moving away.
05-12-2022 02:25 PM
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RE: Difficulties Private Schools are finding in the 21st Century
(05-12-2022 08:55 AM)TDenverFan Wrote:  I also think that people are becoming more aware of student debt. Even though they usually offer scholarships/aid, a lot of these small private schools still can run you a total of ~$40k or so per year, while a state school (that's probably more well known), is gonna cost you half of that.

But a lot of small private colleges regularly undercut state colleges and universities on price. They need to be better at getting that message sometimes.

The percent of any colleges students paying actual cash in the neighborhood of 40-60K is so small it may as well not even be measured.
05-12-2022 02:51 PM
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RE: Difficulties Private Schools are finding in the 21st Century
(05-12-2022 11:21 AM)arkstfan Wrote:  Lyon College in Arkansas (NAIA) is reportedly in trouble. They don’t have a well defined niche, have small enrollment, the now past president alienated the community when he told the Chronicle of Higher Education the school was in a community full of angry disenfranchised people with a large white supremacist population. Said a local Trump rally was like the 1/6 insurrection mob minus the shaman.

Well so much for his retirement dinner at TGI Friday's
05-12-2022 03:18 PM
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RE: Difficulties Private Schools are finding in the 21st Century
(05-12-2022 11:21 AM)arkstfan Wrote:  Lyon College in Arkansas (NAIA) is reportedly in trouble.

Didn't this school appear on one of those "Schools that may go Division I" lists we see here from time to time?
05-12-2022 03:20 PM
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RE: Difficulties Private Schools are finding in the 21st Century
(05-12-2022 03:20 PM)PeteTheChop Wrote:  
(05-12-2022 11:21 AM)arkstfan Wrote:  Lyon College in Arkansas (NAIA) is reportedly in trouble.

Didn't this school appear on one of those "Schools that may go Division I" lists we see here from time to time?

Calling DavidSt on aisle 9.....NAIA to D1 moveups.
05-12-2022 03:38 PM
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RE: Difficulties Private Schools are finding in the 21st Century
(05-12-2022 02:25 PM)arkstfan Wrote:  in fact the push is for more where feasible.

My inlaws used to leave near ASU-Beebe, Heber Springs which always cracked me up (not its existence so much, I'm sure it serves a purpose there) but just that it was a branch location of a branch location.

ASUBHS makes for a long acronym.
(This post was last modified: 05-12-2022 04:39 PM by inutech.)
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RE: Difficulties Private Schools are finding in the 21st Century
(05-12-2022 03:18 PM)PeteTheChop Wrote:  
(05-12-2022 11:21 AM)arkstfan Wrote:  Lyon College in Arkansas (NAIA) is reportedly in trouble. They don’t have a well defined niche, have small enrollment, the now past president alienated the community when he told the Chronicle of Higher Education the school was in a community full of angry disenfranchised people with a large white supremacist population. Said a local Trump rally was like the 1/6 insurrection mob minus the shaman.

Well so much for his retirement dinner at TGI Friday's

I think in his follow-up he did try to say he meant the town to be included in his "we're on an island here" comment.
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RE: Difficulties Private Schools are finding in the 21st Century
(05-11-2022 02:06 PM)CitrusUCF Wrote:  Pensacola Christian is a 4-year school and has been for some time. There's still a handful of private JUCOs around, though some, like Spartanburg Methodist, have started offering at least limited bachelors degrees. I'm not really sure what the value proposition is for a private JUCO.

Trade programs for those who aren't that interested in general ed requirements for 4 year schools. I know of one that's still making a go of it in Kansas, Hesston College. My uncle taught there for a year or two after he retired from Fresno Pacific and they needed a fill-in. Look at their programs of study and pick out the niches:
https://www.hesston.edu/academics/programs-of-study/

About 390 students. I don't know how they're doing financially.
05-12-2022 05:11 PM
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