A wake-up call for small liberal art schools



>>IN 2018, MOUNT IDA COLLEGE I
NEWTON CLOSED ABRUPTLY AND LET
STUDENTS SCRAMBLING TO FIND A
NEW SCHOOL. THOSE WITH GOOD ACADEMIC
STANDING HAVE THE OPTION OF
ATTENDING UMASS DARTMOUTH, BUT
MANY STUDENTS FOUND THEIR MAJOR
WAS NOT OFFERED.>>UMASS DOES NOT HAVE ANYTHING
FOR US.>>COULD WHAT HAPPENED AT MT. IDA HAPPEN AGAIN AND AGAIN? IT WOULD NOT SURPRISE JOHN
MARCUS.>>IS A LOT OF REASONS FOR WHAT
IS HAPPENING TOO SMALL
TUITION-DEPENDENT SECOND-TIER
PRIVATE NONPROFIT COLLEGES. THAT IS THE VERY SPECIFIC
CATEGORY OF COLLEGES THAT ARE
MOST IN TROUBLE.>>MARKETS FOLLOWS HIGHER
EDUCATION. AFTER DECADES OF GROWTH AND
HIGHER EDUCATION, HE SAYS MANY
NEW ENGLAND COLLEGES AND
UNIVERSITIES ARE STRUGGLING WITH
A SHARP DOWNTURN IN COLLEGE
ENROLLMENT.>>WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF 18 TO
24-YEAR-OLDS, ESPECIALLY IN NEW
ENGLAND WHICH HAS A VERY FLAT
GROWTH RATE. THE OTHER THING HAPPENING TO
THESE AND THE TWO SHINS IS THAT
BECAUSE OF THE DEARTH OF SUPPL
THEY HAVE TO PROVIDE HIGHER
LEVELS OF FINANCIAL DISCOUNTS.>>A 2017 STUDY FROM THE
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGE
AND UNIVERSITY BUSINESS OFFICERS
SHOWS THE AVERAGE TUITION I
DISCOUNTED BY NEARLY 50% FOR
FIRST-TIME FULL-TIME STUDENTS.>>THIS IS WHAT KILLED MT. IDA. IF YOU WERE ANY OTHER KIND OF
PRIVATE BUSINESS AND HAD TO GIVE
BACK 65% OF REVENUE, YOU WOULD
BE OUT OF BUSINESS, AND THAT IS
WHAT IS HAPPENING TO COLLEGES.>>ANOTHER FACTOR — SCHOOLS
BUSTING THEIR BUDGETS TO HAVE
THE LATEST IN CAMPUS AMENITIES.>>UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES
HAVE GONE INTO SIGNIFICANT
AMOUNTS OF DEBT TO BUILD NEW
BUILDINGS IN THE HOPE OF
ATTRACTING ENROLLMENT. IT HAS NOT NECESSARILY WORK, AND
GUESS WHO PAYS FOR THAT? STUDENTS AND TUITION.>>ADD A STUDENTSHIP FROM THE
HUMANITIES TO SCIENCE AND
MATH-FOCUSED MAJORS, AND IT’S NO
WONDER TUITION-DEPENDENT LIBERAL
ARTS SCHOOLS ARE AT RISK.>>IN 19 67, 20 7% OF STUDENTS
MAJORED IN HUMANITIES AND
LIBERAL ARTS. IT’S DOWN TO 5%. THE KINDS OF THINGS EMPLOYERS
LOOK FOR OUR PROBLEM-SOLVING
SKILLS, ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE,
TEAMWORK. THOSE ARE THE KINDS OF THINGS
YOU LEARN WITH LIBERAL ARTS.>>I BRISTLE A LITTLE BIT WHEN
PEOPLE CREATE THIS FALSE
DISCUSSION. I WANT A JOB, LIBERAL ARTS DON’T
MATTER — YOUR ABILITY TO GET,
KEEP A JOB, AND ACTUALLY CHANGE
CAREERS 15 OR 20 YEARS DOWN THE
ROAD IS GOING TO BE ENHANCED TO
THE EXTENT THAT YOU HAVE A BROAD-BASED LIBERAL ARTS
EDUCATION.>>MILTON’S CURRY COLLEGE OFFERS
STUDENTS MORE THAN ANY FIVE
MAJORS, MINORS, AND
CONCENTRATIONS, SAYS THE
PROVOST.>>WE TAKE A VERY SERIOUS LOOK
AT TRYING TO KEEP OUR CURRENT
PROGRAMS IN TUNE TO WHAT THE
NEXT FIVE OR 10 YEARS WILL LOOK
LIKE. KINDERGARTNERS TODAY, PROBABLY
THE MAJORITY OF JOBS AND EVEN
MANY OF THE INDUSTRY’S THOSE
STUDENTS WILL GO INTO TO NOT
EVEN EXIST TODAY.>>A PROGRAM SHOWING GROWTH —
FORENSIC SCIENCE.>>THE BUREAU OF LABOR
STATISTICS DATA WAS TELLING US
WE’RE PROJECTING ABOUT A 17% TO
20% GROWTH IN JOBS FOR THAT
INDUSTRY. YOU CAN TAKE THAT WITH A GRAIN
OF SALT. THE SIGNALS TO US THAT THERE IS
OPPORTUNITY HERE.>>TAKING A SAMPLE FROM THE
CRIME SCENE.>>’S VETERAN EDUCATOR WAS CHAIR
OF THE FORENSIC SCIENCE PROGRAM
WHEN MOUNT IDA COLLEGE CLOSED.>>WE ONLY HAD A MONTH AND A
HALF OR SO TO HELP STUDENTS FIND
ALTERNATE PROGRAMS OR ALTERNATE
LOCATIONS.>>CURRY COLLEGE STEPPED IN AND
OUT OF THE PROGRAM TO THEIR
GROWING LIST OF MAJORS.>>I BELIEVE APPROXIMATELY 40 OR
SO TRANSFERRED TO CURRY, BUT
THEY WERE NOT ALL FORENSIC
SCIENCE MAJORS. WHAT WE HAVE HERE IS A SIMULATED
CRIME SCENE.>>HE SAYS WHILE THE PROGRAM IS
NEW TO CURRY, HE IS OPTIMISTIC
ABOUT ITS FUTURE.>>WE ARE WORKING ON A
COMBINATION OF DIFFERENT
EVIDENTIARY ITEMS THAT THEY
WOULD BE EXPOSED TO AT A CRIME
SCENE IN A FORENSICS LAB. CURRY COLLEGE HAS BEEN VERY OPEN
WITH MY IDEAS, THE REQUIREMENTS
OF THE PROGRAM, THE FUTURE
PROSPECTS OF THE PROGRAM.>>MT. IDA WAS A GREAT PLACE. I’M REALLY SAD TO SEE THAT IT NO
LONGER EXISTS, QUITE FRANKLY. IT IS A SOBERING WAKE-UP CALL.>>JOHN MARCUS SAYS WHILE
COLLEGES NEED TO FIND OTHER WAYS
OF GENERATING REVENUE, ADDING
NEW PROGRAMS IS NOT NECESSARILY
THE BEST WAY. THE TEAM COLLEGES AND
UNIVERSITIES HAVE ADDED MAJORS
IN CASINO MANAGEMENT. IN 2016, THOSE 15
COLLECTIVELY GRADUATED JUST 34
STUDENTS. WE FOU

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