The saga of Sweet Briar College is a sad one — the school announced Tuesday that it will have to shut down after the Spring 2015 semester.
While the news was shocking to Sweet Briar College students, parents, and possibly a few clueless pothead professors, the writing has been on the wall for years for the tiny Virginia school. Enrollment has been down for some time and it only took 45 undecided high schools seniors to sink Sweet Briar College.
In the fall 2009 semester, Jaschik reported, Sweet Briar College ended up enrolling 605 students, rather than the 650 it had anticipated. While that may not seem like a large number, 45 fewer students on a campus of only a few hundred can have a major financial impact on the college.
That was when the school probably knew it was in trouble.
That’s a shame. The group of people barely bigger than an NFL roster put Sweet Briar College out of business. From there, things got worse — in the 2014-2015 academic year, the overall enrollment at the school hit a six-year low of just 561 students. And that’s even with a fire sale and price slashing of tuition.
The scariest part is that the worst might be yet to come. There could be countless Sweet Briar Colleges out there, according to Mark Cuban, preparing to shut their doors for good.
“It’s inevitable at some point there will be a cap on student loan guarantees. And when that happens you’re going to see a repeat of what we saw in the housing market: when easy credit for buying or flipping a house disappeared we saw a collapse in the price housing, and we’re going to see that same collapse in the price of student tuition, and that’s going to lead to colleges going out of business.”
Our sympathy goes out to the ladies of Sweet Briar College. If you’re out there, give us a shout, we’d love to hear about your experience at the school and what’s up next for students.