Colleges are feeling the money crunch. Some private colleges have lost up to 35% of their endowment values, and public schools are being affected by lowered state budgets. Colleges are responding in several ways: freezing faculty and staff hiring, limiting course offerings, lowering enrollments, trimming fuel and food budgets, freezing construction projects, and offering fewer scholarships.
All of the above means students and their parents should be asking some questions and doing some research as they choose colleges and as they make decisions about which college to attend for next fall.
CollegeBasics suggests the first step to take is to go to the college’s website. Many websites provide information about their budgets and endowments, even about what measures they have taken to remain solvent. Things you might ask admissions are whether or not library hours have been cut, cafeteria menus have changed, room temperatures have been lowered, or recreational and social facility hours have been curtailed. Another important question may be how the teaching on their campus has been affected. Are lower level courses and lecture courses being taught by graduate students/adjunct faculty or by full-time faculty? Things to consider are where faculty and course cuts are being made as those cuts might affect the strength of your planned major. In fact, some courses may be offered biannually, rather than annually, which can affect both access to requisite courses and length of matriculation time for a degree. Also, if colleges are cutting student services, you may want to think about how less community service and other extracurricular opportunities that you might have been counting on to augment your education and experience will affect you.
Take time in choosing a college whether for application or attendance. In these rough economic times, colleges may not always be what they were last year.