Colleges Continue To Cut Staff As Student Enrollment Continues To Decline

Mike Krauser
March 07, 2019 - 10:04 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Western Illinois University’s decision to cut more than 100 faculty and staff is a trend that one expert said is going to continue for years until some colleges cease to exist. 

Economist Richard Vedder, a professor emeritus at Ohio University, who’s written extensively on the economics of higher education, notes that declining enrollment is partly due to birth rates and said that’s going to continue. But, he said, more students are questioning whether college is worth the money.  

“That’s particularly true at the schools which do not have a sterling national reputation," he said. “There’s going to be some schools that just downright close. They’re taking a tremendous hit over the years and I don’t see that this is going to reverse.” 

Regional state schools are in trouble, he said, but small private liberal arts colleges are in more trouble and we could see a lot of schools closing their doors in the coming years.

“I’ve been saying for years there will be at least 500 schools that will close nationwide, which probably means in Illinois, 25 or 30, which is a lot of schools.," Vedder said.

He said schools can and are downsizing faculty, staff, degree programs and athletics, however, he said, “there’s no obvious way out.”