Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Observations of the College Meltdown in Real Time

Update (4-21-2020)

Each US state has a space on the layoff.com for people facing furloughs and layoffs.  The State of Alaska, for example, is at https://www.thelayoff.com/Alaska

State colleges and universities have layoff pages.  For example, the University of Alaska, Anchorage has a page at https://www.thelayoff.com/uaa

Many private colleges and universities have layoff pages.  For example, the University of Southern California (https://www.thelayoff.com/usc) and Liberty University (https://www.thelayoff.com/liberty) have active pages.

While College Meltdown utilizes government, industry, and non-profit data, the information is often stale by the time it is analyzed. Social media, however, provide unique insights into the US subprime college crash, the student loan mess, private college closings, downsizing at state colleges and universities, college financial and political scandals, and other college-related crises as they happen. One important site is TheLayoff.com.

TheLayoff.com has provided a platform for real-time observations and information for more than a decade. In the case of the subprime college crash, workers chronicled the collapse of Corinthian Colleges, ITT Tech, Education Management Corporation, Education Corporation of America, and other for-profit colleges as they happened.

Workers posting on TheLayoff.com also provided insight into businesses that surrounded the for-profit education industry, such as ECMC, a student loan servicer, and ACICS, one of the industry's accreditors.

As the subprime college crash continues, some of the most interesting pages to watch are: Dream Center Education Holdings and the Art Institutes, University of Phoenix, DeVry University, Graham Holdings and Kaplan University (servicer of Purdue University Global), Laureate Education and Walden University, Bridgepoint Education (parent company of Ashford University), and Career Education Corporation (parent company of Colorado Technical University and American Intercontinental University).

The Dream Center layoff page has been particularly active as its schools and former schools, the Art Institutes, Argosy University, and South University, collapse and $13 million in federal aid meant for student stipends has been reported missing.

National American University's death watch is here.

University of Phoenix's layoff page has also been a valuable source about student enrollment, layoffs, and unethical practices that have undermined the school. 

Other pages to watch the larger college meltdown include LendingTree, student loan servicers such as Navient, Sallie Mae, and Nelnet, predatory internet lead generators such as QuinStreet, private Christian colleges such as Liberty University, HBCUs like Bethune-Cookman University, non-profit institutions like Baker College, and public universities such as Western Illinois, Southern Illinois, Eastern Michigan, University of Akron, University of Central Oklahoma, University of New Mexico and New Mexico State, University of Alaska, Anchorage and University of Alaska Fairbanks.

With austerity, downsizing, mergers and closures, layoff pages at private and public colleges may also gain importance.  Green Mountain College, Hampshire College, College of New Rochelle , and Southern Vermont College are the latest victims.

Related link: College Enrollments Continue Decline in Several States
Related link: America's Most Endangered Private Colleges in 2019
Related link: Deceived by DeVry
Related link: Purdue University and Its Subprime College Cousin Committing Fraud
Related link: College Meltdown Shows Few Signs of Slowing in 2019

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

America's Most Endangered Private Colleges in 2019

Related article: Endangered Colleges include HBCUs, Small Religious Colleges (2016)
Related article: Another American College to Close (Bryan Alexander, 2019)
Related article: Private College Revenues and the US College Meltdown (2018)
Related article: College Meltdown Shows Few Signs of Slowing (2019)

In 2016, Jeff Selingo and EY published a report stating that more than 800 US colleges were facing major downsizing, mergers, and closures. But their report did not list the schools most likely to fail. It would appear that higher education and business insiders, including government agencies and credit rating agencies, know which schools are likely to merge or fail, but they are unwilling to share it with the public.

The Department of Education publishes a list of schools in financial trouble, called the Heightened Cash Monitoring List, but the list is small and is not the best predictor of future school failures. The PEPS School Closings list is helpful, but it's most often a post-mortem of colleges that have already failed.

Would it be possible to create a list by examining just a few variables? I would suggest these variables, in combination, when looking at the survivability of individual US private colleges:

Enrollment <1000 students, and at least
Five consecutive years of student enrollment losses, and at least
Five consecutive years of revenue declines, and
Revenue declines of more than 15% over the last 5 years, and
Endowments less than $5 million

What variables do you think should be included? And what are the intangibles that must be considered? For example, HBCUs have been able to survive for decades despite lack of government support. Loss of accreditation, on the other hand, can be a death sentence for almost any college.