A small college, back from the brink

Via InsideHigherEd, here’s a good story about the economic challenges of running a small liberal arts college (Rockford College, in this case), what can happen when small colleges overextend themselves, and how good administration — characterized by frequent, open communication with college stakeholders and out-of-the-box thinking — can turn things around.

One of the main lessons of this story is, as the article puts it, “the importance of being realistic whenever someone says some new off-campus program will create a windfall.” Most of the financial strain small colleges find themselves dealing with, in my experience, is self-inflicted in the form of unrealistic ideas that promise lots of instant revenue but which stray from the core mission of educating students. Here’s an example from a while back.

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