NEBHE convenes leaders on the economy and the future of higher education …
Times are already complex for higher education. In Massachusetts, 18 higher education institutions (HEIs) have closed or merged in the past five years. In Vermont, College of St. Joseph, Green Mountain College and Southern Vermont College all held their final graduation ceremonies in the spring. What would happen if a recession were to add to this uncertainty?
With that question in mind, NEBHE in mid-October convened a small group* of economists and higher education leaders at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston to talk about “The Future of Higher Education and the Economy: Lessons Learned from the Last Recession.”
To be sure, some of the problems that have forced college closures are national, but New England (along with the rest of the Northeast and the Upper Midwest) faces specific challenges: most importantly, a daunting demography that spells trouble for college enrollments. By 2032, the number of new high school graduates in New England is projected to decline by 22,000 to a total 140,273, according to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.
The NEBHE confab aimed to better understand the key challenges and consequences HEIs faced as a result of the so-called “Great Recession” and what can be learned from them. Among guiding questions: