What Happens When a College Dies?

Editors' pick: Originally published August 23.

Last year, maybe five colleges and universities shut their doors for the last time. This year that number may jump to 15, said Jack Schacht, founder of My College Planning Team in Chicago.

"It's a much bigger trend than you read it in the press," said Schacht and the trend looks bigger - and scarier - when you factor in that many dozens of schools dodge the closure bullet by merging into a healthier entity, even when that looks destined to be an unhappy marriage.

"We will see more closures," flatly predicted Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation and formerly president of Teachers College at Columbia University.

You don't want to attend such a school and, said Schacht who counsels students and families on the health of schools in helping them decide where to go, he has been suggesting more schools be avoided simply because there are good reasons to fear for their future.

It is a bummer on many, deep levels when one's school goes kaput. Transcripts can be hard to obtain. Prestige of the degree may fly out the window. The school can become the punchline to a joke.

Many hundreds of institutions are on a U.S. Department of Education list of schools subjected to "heightened cash monitoring," which is a polite way of saying the feds want to eyeball how these schools spend their money. Not all will fail but making the list is a kind of badge of shame in the education world and schools you have heard of are on the list.

If you liked this article you might like

There Is a Perilous Shortage of Elder Caregivers

Can You Afford to Live to 100?

The Coming Culture Wars in the Trump Era: Frugality vs. Consumption

Can You Retire Abroad on Social Security Alone?

Are You Emotionally Ready to Retire?