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.

Colleges Still Accepting Students

It’s May 2. Yesterday was National College Decision Day, the deadline to select the college you will attend this fall and to make a deposit. 

However, if you are still looking for an undergraduate college for the Fall, go to and review “College Opening Update.” Currently, the site lists 337 colleges with openings, and the list is updated daily. You can search the site by state (or country) or several other criteria.

When I searched by state for colleges in Pennsylvania with openings, I found a mix of 33 public and private colleges listed alphabetically by college name. For each of these colleges the following information was provided: college name, whether they are public or private school, the size category, whether they are accepting freshmen or transfers, whether housing or financial aid are available, a contact person, email address, phone number and website.

For example, the first entry looked like this:

Albright College
( PA )

Enrollment: Private,non-profit
1,000 – 4,999

Freshman: Yes
Transfer: Yes
Financial Aid: Yes

Contact: Jennifer Williamson

Phone:  (610) 921-7700

Albright College

Temple University

Introduction: Temple University is a public university with its main campus in North Philadelphia. There are other campuses including:
  1. The Ambler campus, a suburban campus with majors in Horticulture, Criminal Justice, Community and Regional Planning, and more         
  2. A Health Science Campus, just 1.5 miles from the main campus, housing a hospital, medical school, pharmacy program, and clinicals        
  3. The Harrisburg campus for freshmen and graduate programs       
  4.  Overseas campuses with housing, Temple faculty, and Temple courses in Rome, Italy and Tokyo, Japan.
Temple University has about 27K undergraduates with an average class size of 27. There are lectures with teaching assistants teaching the recitation sessions.
Ambiance: There is a major street going through campus. There are lots of students around. Food trucks abound and there are many fast food outlets. The campus does not have a uniform building style and there is not much open green space.
Safety: The campus has 600 security cameras, 259 security officers and is the most-lit campus in Philly. The patrol zone is about 5 blocks outside of campus. Part of freshman orientation deals with being safe in an urban area.
Extracurricular activities: Temple has over 300 clubs and provides free student tickets and transportation to their football and basketball games.
Something surprising: The Tech building was filled wall-to-wall with hundreds of students on computers doing work quietly.
Construction: The Morgan Residence Hall was opened five years ago. A new health and wellness center opened in the Fall 2017. A new science building is being constructed and when it is finished, the two old science buildings will be knocked down and will be replaced with a green quad. A new library will open in Fall 2018 with a robot-retrieval system, the third in the nation..
Price: For out-of-state students the tuition averages about $28K/year and the Room/Board averages at about $11K/year. Tuition varies by college, with the Fox School of Business being the most expensive.
Applying: Temple University is a Common App school. Students who apply are automatically considered for merit aid and the honors program. Students who apply Early Action by November 1 are notified of acceptance by 1/10. Subsequent to that date, admission is rolling with a typical acceptance response in 4 – 8 weeks.
Temple recommends that students with an SAT score of less than 1000 who write well apply test optional. Test optional students are considered for merit aid.
Merit aid ranges up to full tuition plus one $4K summer educational stipend. Scholarship notification is by 3/1.
The average accepted student has a 3.56 GPA (weighted) and a 27 ACT or 1220 SAT. The ACT is not super-scored.
The average Honors student has a 3.9 GPA and a 32 ACT or 1450 SAT.
Housing: The Freshman housing deposit deadline is May 1. Students can pick their building usually starting in February. Housing is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Morgan Hall fills fast. Living/Learning community students can get rooms later. The View at Montgomery, is privately-owned off-campus housing right next to campus. 

East Stroudsburg University

General: East Stroudsburg University is a medium sized public university with about 6800 undergraduates in the Poconos.  About three quarters of the students are from Pennsylvania with one quarter from 30 states and 25 countries.  New Jersey sends the most students from outside of Pennsylvania.  Most of the campus is made up of low-rise red brick buildings of 5 stories or less.
Academics: ESU has five undergraduate colleges: College of Arts and Sciences (the largest), College of Business and Management, College of Education (where you will get into the classroom early), College of Health Sciences (the most competitive for admissions), and the University College (for undecided students). 

Science Building with Planetarium
Housing: There are 18 residence halls with traditional, suite and apartment living.  There is special interest housing and honors housing.  Freshman housing is guaranteed and laundry is free.  Wi-fi is available throughout the campus.
Campus Life: There are 139 clubs and organizations, including 20 NCAA Division II sports teams and Greek life.  The biggest spectator sport is men’s basketball.  There are club hours from 2-4 PM, twice a week; during those hours there are no classes.  You can start your own club with 9 or more students.
University Center

Financial Aid:  There is out-of-state merit aid of $7K for students with a GPA over a 3.0.  There is also a $3.5 K merit scholarship for some out-of-state students with a GPA less than 3.0.
Services: ESU has a tutoring/writing lab, mentorship, as well as counseling and career services. Professors are required to have 5 hours a week of office hours.  The school provides college buses into town and an Enterprise car share.  There is a hospital “next door” which is handy if you become seriously ill.

Open House: If this sounds interesting to you, you may want to attend one of the upcoming 2016 Spring Open Houses on April 9, 16 and 23.

Manor College

Manor College is a  two-year Catholic college in the suburbs of Philadelphia. The total enrollment is about 800 students. The school has three buildings and has room for 100 students to live on campus. Manor College has transfer agreements with Arcadia, Temple, Drexel and some of the local Catholic colleges. Popular programs are dental hygiene, vet technology, and the paralegal program. There is a new criminal justice program.  The most competitive programs are the Expanded Function Dental Assistant and Dental Hygiene programs which have only a 10% acceptance rate and only half the students finish the program. The mid-50% SAT scores for the entire school are Critical Reading 340-430, Math 310-430, and Writing 310-510.

Neumann University

Here are some highlights from my visit to Neumann University.  The university has the highest acceptance rate of the ten 4-year Catholic colleges in the area, a 94% acceptance rate.  It claims to have the lowest private university tuition in the Philadelphia area. The most popular major areas among the 2100 full-time undergrads are liberal arts, health professions, business, education, psychology, and security.  New for 2015 is a pre-pharmacy major (2+4) with Duquesne University.  Generally, all of the bio-clinical lab science majors got jobs in their field and 95% of the nursing majors pass their nursing exams the first time.  An internship is required for all majors, except Psychology.  There is suite style living.  The school has a TV and radio station, school newspaper, 3 theater ensembles, and five dance groups.  Field hockey is popular at this NCAA Division III school.

Philly-area Catholic Colleges – Immaculata University

In late July, I visited 11 private co-ed Catholic colleges in or near Philadelphia: ten are 4-year colleges and one is a 2-year college with acceptance rates of between 49% and 94%. They ranged in size from about 500 to just over 7000 undergraduates. At most, business or health are the most popular majors.  I hope to share some highlights about these schools with you in my next few postings.

Immaculata University has a beautiful suburban, green campus, twenty miles west of Philly. Popular majors are nursing, psychology, exercise science, business, education and music. Two unusual majors are fashion merchandising and radiologic science. The average class size is just fourteen. The average accepted student had a GPA of 3.2 and an SAT score of 1470 (out of 2400). Nursing students need to have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a minimum SAT score of 1500 (out of 2400). There are five Presidential scholarships (full tuition) and other merit aid of between $7K and $16K. For scholarship consideration, students must apply before December 1st.  

University of Scranton

The last of the four Catholic colleges that I visited this Spring in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area was the University of Scranton.  My tour guide was Sarah, from Basking Ridge, who writes for the college newspaper and runs the women’s weekend retreat.
General – The University of Scranton is one of 28 Jesuit universities in the United States.  The 58-acre campus is in downtown Scranton with 88% of freshmen and 86% of all students living on campus.  There are about 4000 undergraduates and an average class size of 20.  About 62% of students are from outside of Pennsylvania.  The most popular majors are business, biology and communications.  The university also has occupational therapy, physical therapy, and nursing.  About 200 students study abroad each year.  They may study abroad for a short as a break and as long as a year.  There are three honors programs.

Housing – Living on campus is required for freshman and sophomores.  Housing is guaranteed for all four years.  87% of the housing is new or renovated.  The bathrooms are in the hall for freshmen.  Upperclassmen can live in quads, houses or apartments.  I saw a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment with a kitchen and living room for 4 seniors.  Here is a photo of the living room in one of the apartments.
Extracurricular activities – The school has about 80 clubs and students can start a new club.  There are two theatre groups, performance music groups, an art gallery, a radio station, a TV station and 18 NCAA Division III sports; the school dos not have a football team.  The strongest NCAA teams are basketball, soccer and swimming.  There are also many club and intramural sports, including equestrian.  There is a 2.5 year old fitness center, and an indoor pool.  The students completed 180,000 hours of community service in one year.  The school has a retreat center on Chapman Lake; some of the weekend retreats are faith-based.  There is a campus shuttle and zip cars on campus. 
Nearby – The Martz buses take students to New York and Philly.  The surrounding area boasts skiing, a water park, minor league baseball, casinos, shopping, an IMAX theatre, and minor league hockey.
Religion – About 70% of the students are Catholic.  Mass is available daily.  There are Moslem services on campus.  There are three synagogues within walking distance.
Applying – The school has a free on-line Common App application.  The middle 50% high school GPA of accepted students is 3.2 – 3.8, with a middle 50% SAT score of 1050 – 1240 (two sections).  The school is test optional under certain circumstances.  Entrance for the nursing, occupational therapy (OT) and physical therapy (PT) programs is more competitive, with a minimum GPA of 3.5 and  a minimum SAT score of 1150 (2 sections).  The school likes to see evidence of shadowing for nursing, OT and PT. 
What’s new – U Scranton is building a new facility for OT, PT and exercise science.
Financial aid – The cost of attendance (i.e., tuition, room and board, book, transportation and miscellaneous expenses) is around $55K per year.  Merit aid of $8,000 to full tuition is available and given to students in the top 30% of their class with a minimum GPA of 3.2 and a minimum SAT score of 1100 (2 sections).   To get a full tuition scholarship students need to meet certain criteria, including a GPA of 4.0 and a minimum SAT score of 1400. Students who apply test optional can get merit aid of $8,000 – $10,000.  The school is considering becoming a CSS PROFILE school.   

Misericordia University

Misericordia University is a private Catholic university in Dallas, PA with values of mercy, service, justice and hospitality.  It has a lush green campus on 123 acres, approximately 10 miles from Wilkes-Barre, PA.  The school has about 2000 undergraduates with almost half pursuing degrees in Allied Health, including direct admittance into programs for Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physician’s Assistant and Speech Pathology.  Collaborative work is encouraged. 
Community service is an important extra-curricular activity with students performing about 150,000 hours of community service a year, placing them in the top 20 schools in the nation for community service.  Misericordia has over 30 clubs and 23 NCAA Division III sports, including football.  A shuttle to Wilkes-Barre is provided.
Ninety-one per cent of freshmen and 50% of the undergrads live on campus.  The freshmen dorms have boys on one wing of the floor and the girls in the other wing with communal single-gender bathrooms.  For upper-classmen, there are boys’ suites with their own bathroom next to girls’ suites with their own bathroom.
About fifty percent of the student body is Catholic and two courses in religion are part of the Core curriculum.  These do not have to be courses in Catholicism.
The school has rolling admissions.  The grades and SAT scores required for admission vary by major.  In general, students had an average high school GPA of 2.7 and an average SAT score of 850 (Critical Reading and Math).  Students admitted to the Nursing or Allied Health majors had higher grades and test scores (i.e., Nursing – 2.8 GPA and an SAT score of 960; Allied Health majors – GPA of 3.0 or higher and an SAT score greater than 1050).  If you want to learn more about the school consider attending the overnight stay program.  There are also 2 – 3 day camps for a small fee to get more of a flavor of different majors.  In addition to need-based aid, the school has academic and extracurricular scholarships. 
Misericordia has the Alternative Learners Project, a special program for 15-20 students with Learning Differences and/or ADHD, for an additional fee.

The university has a Guaranteed Placement Program, which guarantees a job offer or enrollment in graduate school within 6 months after graduation, if you meet the requirements of the program which include maintaining a GPA of at least 3.0, completing an internship or approved work experience, and conducting an active job search.  If you don’t get a job in your field, the school will guarantee you a 3-month paid internship in your field. 

King’s College (Wilkes-Barre, PA)

King’s College is a Catholic college in the city of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. It is part of the Holy Cross network of colleges which includes colleges like the University of Notre Dame and the College of Holy Cross. The school has about 2000 undergraduate students who are pre-professional or studying liberal arts and sciences. About 35% of the students are first generation college students.  The school is in an urban environment with buildings spread out over several blocks and little green space.

King’s wants students to learn to speak, write, solve problems, be moral and ethical, and motivate others. They focus on the theme of community, and the students completed about 180,000 hours of community service in 2010.
Their method of grading is a little unusual for college.  Teacher’s take attendance.  15% of a student’s grade is for participation.  There are quizzes every week.  There is a speaking grade, a writing grade and a group project grade in each class.  Professors have five hours of office hours a week.
Things that are relatively new at King’s College are the exercise science major, a 3-2 engineering program with the University of Notre Dame, and a new, impressive Physician’s Assistant building.  The Physician Assistant program is well-established but it appeared that many of the Physician Assistant students were unable to maintain the grade point needed to graduate in that major.
The admissions officers and students we met seemed very friendly and upbeat.  We heard from students on a panel who were studying  accounting, criminal justice, mass communication and to be a Physician’s Assistant,  The student who had lunch at our table was a student with four majors who was going to the University of Virgiania for law school next year.
Wilkes has about 50 clubs.  They have Division III sports, including a football team.  I didn’t see the sports fields which were a 10-minute drive away.  Some nearby leisure activities are skiing at the Snow Mountain Ski resort and a 14-plex movie theatre.  The school sponsors trips to New York City and Washington DC.  Other popular events include comedians brought on campus and “King’s Idol.” The school supplies shuttle buses that run to Walmart and local malls.
There are 8 residence halls.  Two of these buildings are for freshmen: an all boy’s building and an all girl’s building.  11% of students live off-campus, but within walking distance.  About one third of the students are commuters.  The rest of the students live on campus.
Online applications are free and the school accepts the Common Application.  There is a 12/1 early action date and rolling admissions.  The average high school GPA is 3.25 with an average SAT score of 1010 (Critical Reading and Math).  The school is test-optional, using a graded paper in lieu of the SAT or ACT.  Merit aid is based on grades, test scores and community service.  Merit aid can cover up-to full tuition.
About 170 students a year do internships for credit.  Twenty-five to thirty employers come on campus each year to hire, including finance companies and Target, for management trainees.  They have 1-credit course in career planning and offer about 60 workshops per semester by alumni and companies to help students get ready for work and life after college.
King’s College has a higher level of disability support for students with Learning Differences and ADHD than most colleges.  They have 80-100 trained tutors.  There is a first-year academic studies program (FASP) with a dedicated staff person and its own-application.  They have Live Scribe Smart Pens for note taking.  They indicated that they can also provide support to students with food allergies, psychiatric conditions, and Asperger’s.