Education

With less than 100 students, Judson College will file for bankruptcy and close

Written by Richard Fossey

Judson College, a Baptist school for women, announced that it will close its doors in July and file for bankruptcy.

Only 12 new students enrolled at Judson for the 2021 fall semester, and only 80 current students committed to returning in the fall. As a Baptist news story commented, “Operating a college for fewer than 100 students is not financially viable.”

Judson will not be the last private college to close this year. Most private colleges are slashing their tuition in a desperate attempt to lure more warm bodies into their classrooms, but that strategy won’t save all of them.

During this academic year, private four-year colleges discounted tuition for first-year students by an astonishing 58.4 percent. And the average discount rate for all undergraduates is 48.1 percent.

In fact, very few students at private colleges are paying the sticker price for tuition. Ninety percent of first-year students got financial aid from their colleges this year, and 83 percent of all undergraduates got a discount.

Basically, private colleges are running a gigantic half-price sale. But discounting tuition won’ save a struggling college unless it can entice enough new students to offset their lower tuition. And that ploy won’t work at a time when the supply of higher education significantly exceeds demand.

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About the author

Richard Fossey

Richard Fossey is a professor at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, Louisiana. He received his law degree from the University of Texas and his doctorate from Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is editor of Catholic Southwest, A Journal of History and Culture.

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