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ERIC Number: EJ956215
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 1
ISSN: ISSN-0271-0560
Bradford College: Requiem for a College
Levine, Arthur
New Directions for Higher Education, n156 p19-26 Win 2011
Bradford College, located 35 miles north of Boston in Haverhill, Massachusetts, was exactly the type of institution in greatest jeopardy of closing. It was too small, with an enrollment that never exceeded five hundred students. Such institutions tend to have high attrition rates because they have limited numbers of courses, majors, facilities, faculty, and social possibilities. Bradford was also not selective in admissions. Such colleges are more susceptible to declines in the college-aged population and economic downturns than others. Bradford College additionally had a small endowment, only a few million dollars. Low-endowment colleges are highly enrollment dependent and have little in the way of a safety net when interest rates or the stock market or giving declines. They are less able to respond when there are unexpected expenses such as a roof replacement or shortfalls in enrollment or the other routine calamities most colleges face. They have fewer dollars to invest in new programs, facilities, and the like. In addition, Bradford was a private college. Such institutions are far more expensive to attend than the community colleges and regional public universities they compete with for students. To compete against comparable public or private institutions, they must offer significant tuition discounts. To compete against more selective institutions, they must provide merit scholarships. These discounts come directly out of operating revenues. On top of this, Bradford College was located in New England, an area with one of the highest ratios of colleges to college-age population in the country. In short, the supply of colleges in the region was high and the relative student demand was low, making competition for students even more difficult and necessitating that colleges seek students from other regions of the country and around the world. Finally, the mission and character of Bradford was in flux. This article is about the closure of Bradford College, where the author had been president from 1982 to 1989. The story of Bradford College is the story of many colleges that served well, in this case for almost two hundred years, but borrowing funds for buildings never filled by anticipated enrollment increases led to insurmountable debt.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts