Residential Liberal Arts Colleges: Something’s Gotta Give

Residential Liberal Arts Colleges: Something’s Gotta Give

If real change is to occur in the small residential college educational model, significant structural change will have to occur. If your institution has a billion dollar endowment, odds are you’re perfectly happy with the status quo. For the vast majority of everyone else, “change or die” is not merely a hypothetical question.

300 Words, 2 Minutes

Plenty of people will gladly tell you that higher education is broken. That a college degree is unnecessary. And, that college is not preparing students for the job market, nor for life.

Perhaps some, or even all, of these statements are true.

What is undeniably true, is that college is expensive.

Yesterday, I described the elements of the collapse of Sweet Briar College: a school with a declining market of students, the inability to borrow money and pay down debt, and an endowment hog-tied with restricted funds.

Sweet Briar is not an outlier. More schools than not are in a similar condition, coming off a decade-long arms race of new dorms and facilities, new amenities, and substantial new bond debt.

What can small, residential colleges, particularly liberal arts colleges, do then, to fiscally survive, and remain true to the precepts of academic excellence, academic freedom, and the pursuit of knowledge, for knowledge’s…

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