Survival: The Impetus for Vigorous Undergraduate Student Recruiting

Many of our institutions of higher education are presently in a fierce competition to recruit undergraduates. For some of them it is a matter of survival: improve your recruitment outcomes or suffer the fiscal consequences of increasing costs to offer a competitive student experience and incur annual deficits. Institutions that are at particular risk are smaller, stand-alone public colleges and universities and small liberal arts colleges with limited endowments. Large public universities with strong research programs, solid academic reputations, and widespread public support and high-profile private liberal arts colleges have been largely immune from fiscal demise due to enrollment declines, although some will claim they are experiencing some pain. Such institutions are backed by significant public accounts comprised of past excess income, large endowments, and a favorable economy of scale. For example, in 2018 there were 103 US colleges and universities with endowments of over $1 billion. (See this list.)

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