The Financial Resilience of Independent Colleges and Universities
Each time a liberal arts college closes its doors, commentators predict the imminent demise of small private institutions. But does the data back up this belief?
The challenges faced by independent colleges and universities are well-documented. From rising operating costs to increased market competition to demographic shifts, numerous societal and economic factors have led to questions about the viability of small liberal arts institutions. Key gauges of their financial health, however, tell a different story.
The researchers analyzed 14 years (2001–2014) of financial data from 559 private independent colleges and universities, including ratios pertaining to resource sufficiency, operating results, financial assets and debt management. They also utilized the overall Composite Financial Index to measure financial health in different contexts.