More Than 100,000 Students Experienced An Abrupt Campus Closure Between July 2004 and June 2020
SHEEO and Research Center Investigated the Impacts of 467 College Closures on Student Outcomes
More than 100,000 students out of more than 143,000 or 70% experienced their institution closing without adequate notice or a teach-out plan, known as abrupt closure, from July 2004 to June 2020. Poor outcomes in subsequent enrollment and completion were associated with abrupt closures, according to a new report released by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) and the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.
Most higher education institutions that closed were for-profit colleges. Out of the 467 closed institutions investigated:
- 49.9% or 233 were from the private for-profit two-year sector;
- 28.1% or 131 occurred from private for-profit four-year institutions;
- 17.8% or 83 came from the private nonprofit four-year sector; and
- 4.3% or 16 were private nonprofit two-year and four were public four-year institutions.
Almost 12,000 campuses closed over the period analyzed, according to the Postsecondary Education Participants System.
The report, A Dream Derailed? Investigating the Impacts of College Closure on Student Outcomes, is the first in a series of joint research endeavors between the two organizations to quantify the impacts of college closure on students’ subsequent postsecondary enrollment and completion.
“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, National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. “But the extremely poor outcomes for students who experienced abrupt closures are particularly worrisome.”
“This research confirms that college closures have a detrimental impact on the enrollment and completion outcomes of all students and are most pronounced when colleges close abruptly without forewarning or student protections,” said SHEEO President Rob Anderson. “The particularly poor outcomes are especially harmful for minoritized students of color enrolled in the for-profit sector. These results reinforce calls for improving state authorization processes and strengthening the financial monitoring of institutions to prevent, prepare for, and respond to college closures.”
This series of three publications examining the impacts of college closure on student outcomes is supported by Arnold Ventures.
“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.”
Executive Director, National Student Clearinghouse Research Center