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Jon Boeckenstedt @JonBoeckenstedt
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The news broke this morning about Iowa Wesleyan University, which is facing a closure. You have to feel bad for the people people who work there, the students who will be displaced, and the people in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, where it may be among the largest employers.
Some people will say this is just another brick in the wall, and that higher education is going to see a lot of closures like this. They may be right, although it appears we've been averaging about 8 college closures per year since the 80's.
Little Parsons College, not far from IWU, closed too. And Vennard, also in that part of the state. And Westmar, in the NW corner of Iowa.

What do these places all have in common? Several things: Little money, and locations that are not attractive to students, to name a few.
These are common outside of Iowa, too. Couple that with names that have almost no brand image: When you say their name, they don't mean anything, or don't mean anything different from dozens of colleges just like them.
This is not a marketing issue in the sense of promotion. It is a marketing issue in the sense of product, place, and price, which makes hyped up promotion a fool's game.
If what you offer won't make people travel to your campus, or if the environment isn't comfortable when they do, or if they can't afford it, or if there is no reason you're any different than any place closer to home or cheaper, you're out of luck.
I suspect SE Iowa is a tough sell outside of economically depressed SE Iowa, and maybe even in SE Iowa, except, perhaps, for students looking to play varsity sports at the college level.

Here is some data to help you see how things have changed over ten years at IWU:
Note the evaporation of part-time enrollments, coupled with drops in full-time undergraduates, and almost no graduate programs to speak of. And as indicated above, very little money to make it all go.
Even a rebound in freshman enrollment in 2016 didn't help after years of freshman classes that didn't break into triple digits.
There are a lot of colleges like IWU that rely heavily on athletic recruitment to bring in a freshman class; they list 12 varsity athletics teams and cheer-leading on their website. How many students play zero sports? Hard to say, but it looks like not too many, by comparison
Is this a bellwether? Maybe. Find colleges like this, and you'd probably have a list of places that are likely to have very difficult times staying afloat. Iowa has 32 private colleges, probably too many for a state its size.

It will be an interesting couple of years.
Oh, and #EMChat
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