by Jeffrey Seilingo
"A handful of colleges have closed, merged or been bought by for-profit colleges in recent years — mostly small, tuition-dependent private colleges, which remain at most risk. While few financial experts foresee mass closings in the years ahead, only 500 or so of the 4,000-plus colleges and universities in the United States seem to have stable enough finances to be truly safe. The remaining colleges, where a vast majority of Americans attend, can no longer hold off the technological, demographic and economic forces quickly bearing down on them.
"One-third of all colleges and universities in the United States face financial statements significantly weaker than before the recession and, according to an analysis released last July, are on an unsustainable fiscal path. Another quarter find themselves at serious risk of joining them.
“Expenses are growing at such a pace that colleges don’t have the cash or the revenue to cover them for much longer,” says Jeff Denneen, head of the higher education practice at Bain & Company, the global consulting firm that, along with the private-equity firm Sterling Partners, performed the analysis. “A growing number of colleges are in real financial trouble.”