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The Next Chapter for Gordon: A Proactive Response to Market Changes

The short story is that higher education is changing, and Gordon must adapt accordingly. The total number of college-age students in the U.S. is declining, and the standard four-year, residential model is becoming more expensive and less practical for students and families. Gordon is taking strategic steps to meet new market realities out of financial prudence and not out of financial distress. (In other words, we’re choosing to be proactive now rather than waiting to be reactive later, when financial pressures would be stronger.)

The 30,000-foot view

What is happening at colleges and universities in the U.S? If you were to distill the challenges facing private higher education around the country into four key stats, they would be these:

  • 1.9 million. This is the drop in overall enrollments in the U.S. over the past five years. Simply put, higher education capacity exceeds demand. Note that in normal industries when these conditions exist, the price goes down. In higher education it has continued to go up. Instructional costs have also climbed, but given the lack of demand, they need to go down. It is a challenge every university must deal with.   
  • 20 out of 4,400. Fewer than 20 institutions nationally (out of 4,400) are not tuition dependent. This is why prices for students and their families have not gone down. Institutions have required more dollars from fewer students in order to remain even financially.
  • 1 in 2. One half of all private colleges in the nation now discount their undergraduate program between 55 percent and 80 percent. This puts the “choice power” in the hands of the consumer—students and families. 
  • 374%. This is the growth in the price of higher education compared with earnings since 1990—and is the percent increase in college tuition for the average family. By comparison, the growth in the price of groceries has gone up 78 percent over that same time frame. 

This is why Gordon is proactively adjusting our academic program now and will be introducing a number of options over the next year—to make a Gordon education more affordable and more adaptable for a greater number of students, saving them time or money or both. The one area where cuts were never considered was financial aid.  Indeed, in the fall of 2019 we will provide nearly $30 million in College-funded financial aid. Throughout this process, we have been guided by a commitment to being as generous with our students as possible.

Learn more about Gordon’s process for addressing these changes ➔

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