Examining an Enduring Concern in Higher Ed


From Dale Harvey, Tarlton Market Executive for Higher Education – We read about it all the time … Higher Education institutions, and particularly smaller private liberal arts colleges and universities, are feeling the pressures of statistical trends and public opinion. Factors such as a decreasing number of high school graduates, the perceived high cost of a college education and the ongoing debate over the value of such an education, are affecting, if not amplifying, their struggles to compete in the marketplace, let alone survive as independent and going institutions.

Why is this important to Tarlton and to me in my role here as Market Executive for Higher Education?  We have a deep history in this market and a passion to continually understand what factors influence it.  For the past five years, the talk has been about numbers of expected institution closings in the next 10 years bouncing between 5 percent and 10 percent, with an outlier prediction of 25 percent thrown in from time to time. However, as an article by Rick Seltzer uncovers, the re-examination of the “Invisible Colleges” report done more than four decades ago shows they were right on course with that prediction.

While the reasons for the change since 1972 were likely caused by different factors, even with the trends and public opinions of today, it seems to me that we are on a similar glide approach to an industry landing, rather than a crash. That’s important for Tarlton to know and understand.

I invite you to read the article and decide for yourself.