College mergers have become a popular and common solution to the shift in the education system worldwide, as the number of mergers has increased by 21% from 2000-2018. There are several reasons why colleges are failing. Financial strain, shrinking enrollment, and shifting interest in a college degree, all due to the pandemic, are the main stressors on institutions today. Predictions even show that in the near future, as many as 500 4-year colleges and universities are at risk of closure.
Despite this risk, some colleges will fight closure by choosing to merge with other institutions. These mergers are quite the process, as they must be approved by each institution’s board of trustees, the college’s accrediting bodies, and the stakeholders in each college or university. In addition, there are several types of mergers that couples of institutions may undergo. Local, cross-country, international, and even online mergers are common, as well as consolidation mergers, which help to streamline operations and reduce competition for students.
Schools most at risk are smaller schools that reside within the same state, but all public colleges have been found to be in jeopardy. There are many detrimental long term effects to merging colleges, and many students remain worried as their colleges are forced to adapt to this unique time.