The Impact on Students of College Financial Difficulties

Unfortunately, colleges sometimes face financial difficulties. These financial problems may affect you or your student negatively by resulting in layoffs of professors and other personnel, removal of majors, increase in tuition, reductions in merit aid, college mergers, or college closures. One way to stay abreast of possible current or future financial problems at private universities is to follow the annual Forbes financial stability ratings.

University of Arizona

The University of Arizona and West Virginia University are currently facing financial difficulties. At the University of Arizona, the president indicated in late February that there would likely be layoffs as one measure to deal with its $177 million deficit. West Virginia University recently raised tuition by about 3%, discontinued 28 majors, reduced the number of faculty by 143, and combined two colleges to deal with financial difficulties.

Cabrini University

Nearby, Cabrini University announced it will close at the end of this school year; Saint Joseph’s University is providing admission for Cabrini University students. In 2022, the state-run Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education merged six of its 14 universities. In October 2023, The College of Saint Rose announced it would be closing; the college shrank from 4,004 students in the fall of 2019 to 2,800 in 2022. At the end of 2021, Becker College closed after 200 years; its approximately 1000 students ended up at colleges, including Assumption University, Clark University, Worcester State University, and Worcester Polytechnic University.

William Paterson University

In New Jersey, William Paterson University made layoffs in late 2021 due to a $30 million budget deficit, and New Jersey City University declared a fiscal emergency in June 2022.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

I was looking forward to my visit to Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), because I used to work with a number of fine engineers who were WPI alumni.
Most students at WPI have a scientific bent with 58% majoring in engineering, 10% in natural sciences and math, 13% in computer science, 8% in business management, and 2% in the liberal arts.
Two things that distinguish WPI are its unusual academic calendar and its encouragement of collaborative learning. There are four 7-week terms and an optional summer term. Typically students take three classes per term or do a project. These 7-week terms also allow students the opportunity to travel abroad for up to three terms.
Students are involved in two required, real-world, hands-on projects. The interactive project is a team project which may be on or off campus, including numerous sites abroad. The major project is generally sponsored by a company, government agency, or non-profit organization. There is also an optional humanities or arts project available.
WPI students also play hard. They participate in 180 clubs and organizations. Two thirds participate in one of the 20 NCAA Division III teams, the NCAA Division I women’s rowing team, 23 club sports, or 10 intramural sports. A new gym will be opening soon. Greek life is also popular with the student body, with one third joining a fraternity or sorority.

When applying to WPI, a student can submit SAT or ACT scores or take the alternate path by submitting a major project done during high school.

If this sounds intriguing, perhaps WPI is the college for you. If you have visited WPI or are a recent alumn, add your comments or photos. For more of my WPI photos, check out