The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of a college or university is rarely economic failure, but over the past few years it has become the reality of more and more colleges across the nation. This is an issue that was undeniably pushed to prominence by the COVID pandemic.
The pandemic saw colleges closing across the nation with many making the transition soon after to virtual schooling. This change required a $76 billion investment from the U.S government to just keep most schools afloat. And even now, up to 500 four year schools are at risk of closure.
For these at risk schools, an alternative also exists, mergers. These mergers can happen online, internationally, across the country, or even just locally. Mergers see one school consolidating into another to preserve themselves and to make sure their students have somewhere to go.
Colleges that close completely down leave students without many resources and at times make transfers extremely challenging. A direct merger will instead keep everything organized and tidy at the expense of a loss of specific culture, voice, and support that may have been seen at the unmerged college.
It’s not the perfect option, but there is no perfect option in the case of economic failure. What’s important as a college approaches failure is how they orient themselves and their students. The state of colleges today is far from perfect, but an administration that looks out for its students, even in failure, is something every student should look for.