Universities and economic slowdown

Timothy Burke predicts the end of university growth in the U.S. for the foreseeable future. He says that colleges will no longer be able to keep raising tuition at such high rates; that endowments will get much lower rates of return (or possibly shrink outright); that fundraising will be harder; and public funds will be scarce.

That gloomy future is perhaps already arriving at even the wealthiest universities. Alison Sider’s article this week at the Maroon, the University of Chicago’s newspaper, indicates that “the University informed nearly 3,000 graduate students that it had lost its major lending partner and could no longer offer student loans.” According to administrators, “most students remained relatively unaffected by the change,” but nonetheless, “international applicants often lack the credit references necessary to obtain loans from increasingly wary banks.”

Not to mention that international students are often more precarious because they can’t legally work off campus. As usual, economic problems hit hardest on the more financially vulnerable.