New report details the impact of college closures on students (Canva image)
Less than half of students whose colleges closed between 2004 and 2020 went on to enroll at another school, according to an analysis of school closures.
Between 2004 and 2020, approximately 12,000 campuses closed, impacting nearly 150,000 students. Of those schools, 78% were for-profit colleges.
Louisiana has not been immune to the wave of for-profit college shutdowns. When Virginia College shut down campuses nationwide in 2018, students in Baton Rouge and Shreveport were given notice that their schools would shut down at the end of the semester.
The report from the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association and the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center analyzed student outcomes at 467 of those campuses. It’s the first in a three-part series on the impact of college closures on students.
“This study shows that any college closure is damaging to student success, leaving too many learners – more than half – without a viable path to fulfilling their educational dreams,“ said Doug Shapiro, executive director of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. “But the extremely poor outcomes for students who experienced abrupt closures are particularly worrisome.”
Women, minority and nontraditional students were most likely to be adversely impacted when schools closed, the report indicates.
More than half of all students at schools that closed were women, and nearly 40% of all students impacted were older than 30.
Nearly two-thirds of white students re-enrolled at another institution after their campus shut down. Multi-racial students were least likely to continue their education, with just 38% moving on to another school. Among all other racial minorities, re-enrollment rates hovered around 56%.
Approximately 70% of impacted students experienced abrupt closures, when schools provide inadequate notice and no transition plan.
Students at ITT Tech’s St. Charles Parish campus were among those who experienced an abrupt closure when the school ceased operations with no notice in 2016.
Minority students were more likely to enroll at another school if they were given adequate notice before their school closed. At colleges that closed with little to no advance warning, 26.4% of Hispanic students continued their education elsewhere, compared with 43% of their counterparts at schools that provided students adequate warning. A quarter of Black students who experienced abrupt closures enrolled at another school compared with 40% at schools that gave proper notice.
Of all students who went on to attend another college after their school closed , just 36.8% have earned a degree or other credential. Another 10% were still enrolled as of February 2022, meaning more than 50% did not continue their education
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