I don't want to have to wait four years and then go to graduate school and then wait three years before I can start doing that work. For another, there will be fewer opportunities for low-income students who rely on generous financial aid packages at small liberal arts colleges as one of the few tickets into the upper class. Forgues classmates sounded equally satisfied. From 2014 to 2015, Hampshires yield the number of accepted students who chose to come jumped from 18 to 26 percent. And, since standardized tests benefit affluent (and often white) applicants, in 2015 Hampshire admitted its most diverse class ever, with 31 percent domestic students of color and 18 percent first-generation students.

Unique stories. An Amherst alumnuss gift of $6 million provided the money to purchase the land and set up Hampshire, which admitted its first students in 1970. And this month, Hampshire announced that 255 students made deposits as of its May 1 deadline, outpacing a goal of 240. In seven weeks, Wingenbach told the assembly, Hampshire would have to present its accreditors with a plan to prove its sustainability, cover a budget shortfall, and recruit a freshman class for fall 2020. Two days before classes started at Hampshire College in September, the schools incoming first-year students all 13 of them attended a welcome reception in the campuss new R.W. With only a $52 million endowment, Hampshire is especially vulnerable to this reality, but enrollment experts say it will affect many schools outside the most elite.

The share of low-income students receiving federal grants at the most competitive colleges stayed essentially flat between 2000 and 2014, going from 15 to 16 percent, while it grew from 46 to 59 percent at noncompetitive institutions, according to the Washington-based consulting firm EAB. If were going to have this rush to vanilla, that would be terrible. RIGHT: Hampshire College fourth-year student Micael Sobel, 22, walks past a mural on campus. TTY Users: 7-1-1 or 800-735-2964 (Relay NH), UNH Set To Welcome Largest Class Since 2018, Celebrating UNHs Largest Group Of Gilman Scholars. Most of the money for the center came from donors who wanted to support that project specifically, so it couldnt have been used to refurbish dorms, increase cultural center support staff or improve counseling services. Two days later she resigned. Weve gotten so used to them, we may not notice what weve lost until its gone. Well, at Hampshire, in the fall of 2019, as we were beginning this recovery process, we enlisted people from across the college faculty, staff, students, alums, parents and did this really intensive work to imagine, "What would be the most distinctive, interesting, exciting future for Hampshire that would matter to the world and be consistent with our mission?". That contributed to a real drop in net revenue. What theyre expecting from it is the same type of long-term benefit that you might get from your multiyear mortgage, explains Oberlin President Carmen Twillie Ambar. Also surprising is how hard it can be for these students to get into elite colleges: Tatiana Poladko co-founder of TeenSHARP, a Delaware- and New Jersey-based nonprofit organization that helps 100 underrepresented high-achieving students get into selective colleges every year says that her students typically apply to 15 to 20 of these colleges, and are happy to get accepted to one. Meanwhile, when DuPont gave admissions tours, students would come over to tell prospective students terrible things about the school. For, certainly, small colleges, you have got to be very clear about what you do well and how what you do well matters and how what you do well that matters is something you can't do other places. holyoke hadley To do that, he explained, Hampshire would have to show the world that it is possible to provide a liberal arts education with faculty mentorship, accessible to anyone who wants it regardless of income without a massive endowment. (Sarah Crosby for The Washington Post). We have to stop asking, Does this feel like us? and ask, Whats the right thing to do? Shes talking about exploring things like partnerships with community colleges, one-year certificate programs for nontraditional or returning students, or integrating departments to reduce administrative costs. Because of low birthrates following the Great Recession, Carleton College economist Nathan Grawe predicts that the four-year-college applicant pool is likely to shrink by almost 280,000 per class, over four years, starting in 2026, a year known in higher ed as the Apocalypse. As youth populations decline everywhere but the southern and western United States, colleges in New England and the Midwest will find it increasingly hard to lure students, particularly those able to pay. Critics of higher ed like to point to its obsession with facilities and fancier buildings money they say inflates the cost of college at the expense of whats important. In 2016, Hampshire enrolled 1,333 students. Handwritten notes on The Belonging Map, an interactive art installation inside the R.W. And how do we understand truth in a post-truth era? The next morning, in his office, Wingenbach explained what he thinks Hampshire must do to stay open. And those allowances seemed to affect the graduation rate. I think it made it harder for everyone.

The line I get all the time [from admissions] is, Our pool of African American low-income first-generation students is deep. . In July, the college named Edward Wingenbach, vice president and dean of faculty and recent acting president of Ripon College in Wisconsin, its new president. Hampshire College third-year student Elas Alejo, 20, left, talks with fourth-year student Emery Powell during a student government meeting. Should it? Manchester, NH 03101, UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law This puts even more pressure on schools just below the top. Two, we really changed the way that admissions here collaborated with and worked with marketing. Standardized test scores. There was kind of an opportunity there to rebuild an enrollment operation that is explicitly centered around the values and missions of the institution and excited about the new innovations to the curriculum that we were trying to push through. Because Hampshire is a no-grade school, a good number of folks came in thinking it would be easy and did not end up graduating.. 88 Commercial Street But thanks to a slow recovery from the 2008 recession, rising student debt and class anxiety, parents and students are looking at college less as an intellectual experience and more as an insurance policy and that calls for colleges that offer proven outcomes, measurable skills or exceptional prestige. One by one, students took the microphone to share personal and graphic stories of racism and sexual assault theyd experienced on campus; anger erupted between students who felt unheard. This is more intuition than fact, but I think that the experience of the pandemic for many students made them more attracted to the idea that their undergraduate education should immediately connect to the questions and challenges that they care about., They see all these problems that are out there in the world like climate change and white supremacy and community traumas and the uneven impact of the pandemic and think, "These are the kinds of things that we should be working on. Students occupied the presidents office. And after a couple of years of missed enrollment targets and budget shortfalls, Ohios Oberlin College will add a business concentration while trimming 100 students from its prestigious music conservatory and adding more to the college, which draws wealthier applicants. Education Department issues new guidance to prevent 'accreditation-shopping', Court pushes back hearing over $6B borrower defense settlement, Here are the colleges receiving the last $198 million in coronavirus emergency relief, National University gets green light to merge with online graduate college, How Campuses Are Leveling Up With ID Management Tech, Making a Dent in Data Silos: Navigating the Top 3 Data Problems Interrupting Student Success, Admissions Outlook: Digital Solutions & Prospect Engagement. The University of New Hampshire That's one. All this means that private colleges like Hampshire are struggling to find enough students able or willing to pay their high sticker prices, and the situation is only likely to get worse. We were particularly careful about COVID and continue to be particularly careful. Fox Newss Tucker Carlson covered the story, provoking such intense anger from outside campus, DuPont recalls, the admissions office had to remove interns from the phones.

In my last hour at Hampshire, I sat with Devin Forgue in the student center above the gym as he drank a protein shake for lunch that hed brought from home, where hes living to save money. It was a real focus on trying to identify and appeal to the students who would be most interested in the kinds of things we're doing. In the U.S., income disparity is growing, and we have fewer and fewer Americans in the middle, explains former Hampshire president Nelson. The incoming class currently features a 15% increase in students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher and a 39% increase in honors students over last year. People were feeling a financial crisis on campus and being told that important things couldnt happen, and then there was the Kern Center, says Emmett DuPont, a former member of Hampshires student government, who graduated last year. Lack of structure is part of what has made the college less expensive, but its also become less palatable to todays students. It also includes 22% more multicultural students and 20% more first-generation students. Donald Trumps election that fall was another blow to campus morale. And I do think you see some of that now when high school seniors talk about getting into a very selective school.. Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Edward Wingenbach as the former president of Ripon College. Hampshire had deferred maintenance for years. The market punishes distinction, says Michael Roth, the president of Wesleyan University. It now has about 750 enrolled students, down from about 1,100 last spring, and it will take applications for new students in spring 2020. Residential liberal arts colleges are rare in other parts of the world. If the economic troubles of elite liberal arts institutions have you mock-playing an air violin, consider the consequences. Also in the spring, the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts quietly ended its (increasingly rare) need-blind admissions policy, citing unsustainable spending on financial aid. But asking parents to spend a lot of money on an education is easier when you have the facilities those parents expect. At first, the gamble paid off. He plans to study a combination of political science, anthropology, international relations and astrophysics. After Wingenbachs speech, each table in the room took an hour to brainstorm. If you can get that student for $35,000, thats still a very good deal for the college.. The combination of bad publicity and sour mood didnt help enrollment. "You have got to be very clear about what you do well and how what you do well matters," President Ed Wingenbach said. For more than 200 years, theyve made American higher education an exceptional laboratory for fostering empathy, creativity and innovation. In May, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported that several private colleges would just miss their enrollment targets this fall, including Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, ranked 35th among national liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report. For one, therell be fiercer competition for spots at the most prestigious schools a sport already so gruesome, actress Felicity Huffman is doing jail time for gaming it. To compete, private colleges are then forced to offer merit aid to top students who dont need the money. This version has been updated. The Next Generation of Republicans: How Trumpian Are They. Durham, NH 03824 (603) 862-1234 Nine months earlier, the Massachusetts college mired in financial trouble had launched a search for a partner to merge with and announced that it might not admit a new freshman class in the fall. Keep up with the story. It's in the midst of a $60 million campaign to raise unrestricted funding for operating costs, bringing in nearly $34 million so far. The University of New Hampshire offers one of the 10 best values in the country among public universities and the No. By 2018, it was 6.8 percent less than in the previous year, according to the financial PowerPoint presentation. I feel like [that] no matter where I go, said Miriam Nelson, then president of Hampshire College. Have you ever gone to the museum and tried putting your hand on that thing and all the electricity goes up to where your hand is? His focus was on fundraising and keeping costs down by relying on a tiny faculty a prospect made easier by Hampshires inclusion in a consortium with Smith, UMass Amherst, Mount Holyoke and Amherst. Those conversations would not have gone very far 10 years ago, but to a person, everyone on that call said we need to get together and talk about that, she says. I was hoping to meet, he told me.

The campus is a Polaroid image of college before gleaming hotel-like dorms and wellness centers. After four days of orientation with the 13, as his class was known (one student has since dropped out), Forgue felt hed made the right decision. Some, if I had a time machine, could have been recommendations for what should have been done at Hampshire prior to 2019. If Hampshire cant make it work, then what hope do we have for a student-centered progressive pedagogy? Local veterans protested. At breakfast one morning, Nelson was struggling to keep it together. Because the most reliable way to attract students is to get them to visit your campus, and people are reluctant to travel, there were some challenges there. How can we disrupt and dismantle white supremacy? And financially under-resourced institutions are going to get weaker and weaker, says former Hampshire president Nelson. The liberal arts institution in Amherst, Massachusetts, which first admitted students in 1970, was long known for its focus on alternative education and self-directed study. On April 19, 2016, Hampshire canceled classes and the entire student body packed into the gym. Hampshire College fourth-year student Micael Sobel, 22, walks past a mural on campus. Colleges list high tuition prices hoping that enough students pay the top price to compensate for those who can pay little or nothing. And I think many of these students' experience in the pandemic often involved a lot more self-directed work, because they were more open to the idea or interested in the idea of going to a college that gave them more control over their own direction and curriculum. That was doable at the time, when the seemingly infinite baby boomers were entering college. By the end of September, Hampshire had raised more than $9 million, cut the budgets of most of its divisions, and reduced the faculty from 145 to 86. They would say, Dont come to Hampshire. Thats surprising, given the explosion in the number of organizations that help these students access selective colleges. A discussion formed around the question of how much structure Hampshire needs. Durham, NH 03824, UNH Manchester By the spring semester of 2019, the student body was down to 1,120, and net revenue from tuition and student fees was down 11 percent from 2018, according to the financial analysis Hampshire released. The virtues of open-ended thinking and project-based learning will be familiar to any Washington parent who has toured a bougie preschool.

That meant losing its place, then 110th, in the U.S. News college rankings, an essential marketing tool. In November, it must submit a report on its financial sustainability to the New England Commission of Higher Education. Those decisions prompted intense blowback, leadership turnover and efforts to revitalize the college for the future while maintaining its traditional focus on independent work and close collaboration with faculty. In 2013, Hampshires net revenue from tuition, room, board and fees was 3.3 percent higher than in the previous year. The gravity was not lost on the community. If you have a vision that could be world-changing or even just transformational for your personal journey, he said, Hampshire will back you up. To do that for Forgue, Hampshire may have to help transform higher education first. His freshman class started with 13 students (one has since dropped out). By the mid-2010s, Hampshire was grappling with the demographic shifts and market pressures bearing down on higher ed. Ironically, wealthier, more prestigious schools dont have to give out as much merit aid because theyre more likely to get qualified affluent students willing to pay a premium: Four percent of Hampshires new students paid full price in 2017-2018, but at nearby Amherst College, U.S. Newss No. When I first visited, in early April, President Miriam Nelsons office was still filled with the detritus of the protesting students who had been living there for more than 60 days: a half-eaten tray of baklava, unmade airbeds, empty Frappuccino bottles. (Sarah Crosby for The Washington Post), LEFT: Hampshire College third-year student Elas Alejo, 20, left, talks with fourth-year student Emery Powell during a student government meeting. For a school that relies on tuition and fees for 87 percent of its revenue, choosing to shed a fourth of its students was close to financial suicide. <p>Your browser does not support iframes.</p> UNH Main Campus
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