Jul 2019

Massachusetts higher ed leaders weigh proposal to prevent sudden colleges closures

By Hallie Busta

Dive Brief:

  • In response to a recent spate of private college closures, Massachusetts’ higher education commissioner is drumming up support for new policiesthat would expand state oversight to all its colleges and universities that accept state student aid.
  • The proposed regulations, on which the state Board of Higher Education is expected to vote this fall, would require colleges to notify students ahead of time if they are in precarious financial health and foresee closing. Currently, there is no such requirement.
  • Closer monitoring aims to ease the shock of a closure by ensuring the institution is taking the proper steps in time to help students finish their degrees or transfer. Failure to comply could lead to the state withholding student aid.

    Dive Insight:

    Whether that type of oversight will get traction in other areas of the country where high numbers of small colleges have closed is uncertain. “It’s early to know if we can take lessons from Massachusetts, but Massachusetts is wise to get ahead of the trend so they are not reacting,” said Michael Horn, chief strategic officer at Entangled Group, an education investment firm.


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