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Surviving as a Small College

Surviving as a Small College

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Strategies for tough decisions

The past decade has been especially hard on small colleges. Forces that have always made operating a smaller institution challenging have converged and intensified in new ways. There’s stiffer competition for traditional-age students, and many students, wary of loan debt and dubious of the cost and value of a degree, are harder to win over.

This Chronicle report explores the challenges facing small colleges and describes how they might surmount them. It highlights the ways such institutions can build relationships with their communities and with donors, as well as strategies to recruit and retain students, refine the program mix, and make data-informed cuts and investments. Small colleges also have distinctive benefits; this report examines how leaders can make the most of those.

Purchase this report to learn:

  • How small colleges are distinguishing themselves in ways that mesh with their mission and culture, and interest potential students.
  • Why decisions about adding or cutting programs must be based on solid data.
  • How the demographic cliff threatens small colleges — and learn how some colleges are looking to surmount that by pursuing underserved students.
  • The pressures small colleges face in recruiting and the tactics some institutions are taking to attract students.
  • How community partnerships can benefit both a college and its surrounding area.

Date: August 2023
Pages: 64
Digital file size: 28.8 MB

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