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Does a school's financial security and clarity of future matter?

Nocreativity1Nocreativity1 1112 replies55 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
Would you send your child to a school that self describes their financial condition as unsustainable based on multiple years of deficit spending that has materially reduced the endowment? Would you take any comfort knowing the school is aware (after numerous administration/President changes) of the issue and plans on acting but not knowing what those actions entail or would that cause further concern?

Would you be concerned about a major ratings agency SP or Moody's downgrading the credit worthiness and or withdrawing the rating of a college you are considering?

Do these things mattere or would you rely on the experience of kids who are currently in attendance and their parents?
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Replies to: Does a school's financial security and clarity of future matter?

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78209 replies687 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Do these things mattere or would you rely on the experience of kids who are currently in attendance and their parents?

    Those currently in attendance may have good experiences looking backward. Forward-looking risk is mostly* less for them than for new frosh, since they have fewer semesters/years to go before graduating and escaping the risk that the college's financial problems may bring (e.g. reduction of courses or majors, college closure).

    *The exception may be if a college closes, or eliminates the student's major, during his/her senior year, since transferring to a different college may be difficult or involve taking additional course work at the new college due to limitations on transferred credit or minimum in-residence rules.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7242 replies56 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    That mattered to us. D specifically didn't look at a school strong in her major because they were having financial issues and we were concerned about how they were going to meet their budget.
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  • Nocreativity1Nocreativity1 1112 replies55 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 26
    Thanks for the responses...

    Obviously this applies to all schools in a similar financial predicament...being informed, thoughtful and realistic seems to be the prudent approach rather than listening to those with an emotional attachment.
    edited July 26
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  • mathmommathmom 32357 replies159 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I was on the board of the museum of a college that recently went under. It was really heartbreaking and came seemingly out of the blue. Nearby colleges for the most part have taken up the slack, but I think it's a good reason to take a school off the list.
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  • Nocreativity1Nocreativity1 1112 replies55 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 26
    Can others please name some schools you would be concerned about financially as I am apparently prohibited from doing so?

    I hope this is ok given this is a parents forum. Pretty obvious a schools financial condition is a relevant topic and seems silly not to allow specific schools to be discussed. Particularly when the discussion is centered around third party publications or school press releases.
    edited July 26
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7242 replies56 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Easy enough to google articles to see which schools are struggling financially or have terrible Moody's credit ratings.

    U. of Akron has been in the news repeatedly in OH. They were recently upgraded by Moody's to "stable" but there have been huge layoffs in recent years. They are moving to a more focused tech/engineering school but they are having big problems.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29415 replies58 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Yes, it matters. However, for some people, it’s the best choice by far, maybe the only viable one A friend’s daughter was able to take advantage of free tuition from Antioch college. Due to a number of extenuating circumstances, gaining admissions and getting free tuition was not doable. Yes, the college still has an uncertain future, as it did when she went there. But it was worth the chance she took, IMO.

    Also, it doesn’t appear to affect one’s degree, coming from a failed college. A dear friend of mine has such a degree. She’s getting her PHD from a flagship state U this year and has a very well position in that college—just got another job at a UC, again paying a hefty salary. Even academia doesn’t seem to care that she has a bachelors and masters from a failed school. It was accredited when she went there.
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  • PetraMCPetraMC 765 replies5 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited July 26
    This listing is from 2017 but is likely still largely relevant: https://www.forbes.com/sites/schifrin/2017/08/01/2017-forbes-college-financial-grades-a-through-d/#47c0fb3872f3

    It definitely matters, both in terms of future outlook and current per-student spending. That can look like fewer opportunities or things taking longer to get fixed.
    edited July 26
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  • sushirittosushiritto 3980 replies12 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Yes, I would avoid any colleges that are having or will have financial problems. For my oldest we partly chose based on the school's large endowment, knowing that there were not going to be issues such as reduced student-teacher ratios, operational issues, delaying or canceling new construction, etc. Also, when you're sitting around with your college friends in 20-30 years, you would like to be rehashing stories of your college exploits while knowing the college still exists. :smile:
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  • EmpireappleEmpireapple 1711 replies26 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I checked Moodys for lesser known and smaller colleges my son considered. It is easy enough to see their rating and it gives you a wealth of information.

    Yes, it matters. I wouldn't want my child to be attending a school that closed while he was a student and have to figure out a transfer or to be an alumni of a closed school. There is no value there.
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  • Nocreativity1Nocreativity1 1112 replies55 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 26
    Several of you have suggested Moody's...
    What about a school like Earlham that Moody's had downgraded twice and then withdrew the rating. How would you go about evaluaing them?
    edited July 26
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78209 replies687 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    For what it is worth, recent history of Moody's ratings of Earlham is listed at https://www.moodys.com/credit-ratings/Earlham-College-IN-credit-rating-800010742

    Moody's rating definitions are listed at https://www.moodys.com/Pages/amr002002.aspx .
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  • thumper1thumper1 74741 replies3274 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I hope this does not become a thread dissing Schools.

    @Nocreativity1 you have already been told how to check a college’s financial well being.

    If YOU aren’t allowed to list colleges in danger, why would we be able to do so.

    You might want to read this thread...

    https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parents-forum/1962074-rest-in-peace-college-closings.html#latest

    You also need to know that in addition to closings, colleges also merge with others.
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  • skieuropeskieurope 39194 replies6984 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    edited July 26
    MODERATOR'S NOTE:
    Then let me rephrase. This thread is not about Earlham. That thread had its time.

    So to be clear. If this thread turns into an Earlham thread, it will be closed. If it turns into a debate, it will be closed. If either of those things happen, I will assume that the offending party/parties is/are doing so with the understanding that they are ignoring 2 moderators - me and the one that closed the other thread.
    edited July 26
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  • Nocreativity1Nocreativity1 1112 replies55 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 26
    @thumper1 by the Rest In Peace thread it's a bit late for those at the school right? Better to avoid an uncertain situation? No debate if you disagree I would just rather not see my kid at a school merging or changing class oferings, firing staff, etc so would think it's worth avoiding school's that are facing an unsustainable financial future. Particularly when no plan announced. Just me to each his own.
    edited July 26
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  • thumper1thumper1 74741 replies3274 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Not really. Sweet Briar is doing OK.

    @Nocreativity1 you seem a bit obsessed with this topic. Are you a parent or a student? Are you looking at colleges that you think are on iffy financial standing? If not, why all the links and questions.
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  • Nocreativity1Nocreativity1 1112 replies55 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 26
    "Seeet Briar is doing ok"?

    While factually correct in hind sight no one would have willingly gone through the uncertainty and fear associated with headlines such as;

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2018/05/17/opinion/sweet-briar-meredith-woo-interview.amp.html

    In terms of my interest it is irrelevant beyond I have no ties to any of these smaller schools at all. Literally none. Completely unbiased but interested which I believe is the point of CC (share views, ideas, learn and educate others). Let's not try and create debate by personalizing. I respect your opinion and questions without asking who you are and why you ask. Lets not try to get this closed.

    So back to my question would you send your kid to a school that has acknowledged they can't continue on their current financial path but has not disclosed how they will fix the problem?
    edited July 26
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  • thumper1thumper1 74741 replies3274 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 26
    Some people feel strongly about the mission of the college...and that is why they take the risk and send their kids there.

    I’m not sure what else you expect to glean from these threads.

    I happen to love one of the college that is iffy. If my kid wanted to go there, I would absolutely take the risk. When these schools close, and yes some do....the students are seldom left high and dry. Other colleges admit them, and often with the same financial aid. Some of these colleges merge with others. That can be helpful too. Others sell off assets. That’s OK too.

    And reality is, some students don’t finish college where they start anyway.

    High school classes in my area are way fewer in numbers than a while ago...which means less college bound students. It’s the way it is.
    edited July 26
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  • Nocreativity1Nocreativity1 1112 replies55 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 26
    "I’m not sure what else you expect to glean from these threads".

    "When these schools close, and yes some do....the students are seldom left high and dry."

    Thanks I gleaned that.... Aguably what is the entire point of CC if not as described sharing, learning and informing. Why so aggressive towards me?
    edited July 26
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  • circuitridercircuitrider 3367 replies168 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I dunno, but, it seems to me, if we limited our college searches to only schools with AAA ratings from Moodys, I think we'd only be discussing six colleges. I mean, really, even if you go down a few notches to let's say, Aa3 (why do they all sound like battery sizes?), you'd still only be talking about a few dozen. So, where are people supposed to send their kids?
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