The Reality of College Mergers

Why are colleges failing? New studies show that from 2018-2022, there were 95 college mergers, which is a 21% increase from the previous 18 years. The pandemic has left many institutions in immense financial strain, ridden with shrinking enrollment and a general lack of interest in even earning a college degree. Experts say that up to 40% of prospective students are delaying college plans due to financial strain or a preference for in-person instruction, and the number of US adults that consider a college degree to be important has dropped by nearly 20%.
The value of the college degree is falling, and the hiring process post-graduation is looking bleak, leaving many institutions to have to undergo a merger. The college merger process is one that, once approved by trustees and stakeholders, can occur locally, cross-country, digitally, or even internationally. Many schools may choose to merge to increase both of the institutions’ chances of surviving this tough time for the global education system. Smaller schools are most at risk, and these mergers can have long term effects on the culture of the institution. A loss of identity, a loss of voice, loss of support, and increased costs of attendance are all fears that many students and schools alike have about mergers. These doubts leave many students, communities, and alumni wondering if their college is next.

The College Merger Explosion: Why Colleges are Failing

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