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Planning for Higher Education Journal

An Analysis of Closed Colleges and Universities

Journal Cover
From Volume 44 Number 4 | July–September 2016
By Kristin Stowe, David Komasara
Planning Types: Resource Planning

This research aims to identify factors related to university closures. While other studies have examined internal factors, few have investigated the impact that external factors, such as demographics, have on school survival. First, this research identifies 96 private baccalaureate and higher-level colleges and universities that have closed since 2000. Next, the closed schools are compared to a sample of 1,793 schools that remained operational over the same time period. Geographic and statistical analysis was completed to identify significant factors that differentiate closed schools. Economic and demographic census data were used to analyze the area around each school, and financial data were used to evaluate the financial health of the school itself. Many articles point to a trend away from rural colleges as the main reason for closure, but this research shows no significant difference in population density in the areas around schools that closed and schools that remained open. Internal factors like enrollment and expenses proved more significant.

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