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The Exchange

Small Colleges Struggle, Adapt to Changing Demographics, Challenging Times

Ben Stephenson via Flickr/CC

Small New England colleges are competing for a shrinking number of students in the area. Some have prepared for this slowdown, which primarily has affected the Northeast and Midwest, but many have not. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, more than 40 percent of small private colleges missed their enrollment or tuition revenue goals in 2016.  

In New Hampshire,  Keene State College recently announced it will offer buyouts to faculty and staff to deal with declining enrollment and a tuition shortfall.  Last year, Colby-Sawyer College announced plans to drop its English and Philosophy programs to help address a budget gap and focus on more popular programs, such as nursing and business.    

We talk with top college officials about how their institutions are faring and what steps they've taken -- or plan to take -- to address some of these challenges. 


  • Todd Leach - Chancellor of the University System of New Hampshire. 
  • Michele Perkins - President of New England College.
  • Susan Stuebner - President of Colby-Sawyer College.

Related Reading

Small Colleges Fight to Survive, Amid Warnings of Shaky Finances. 

Read about developments at Keene State College, which recently announced buyouts.