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Small Private Colleges Attracting Fewer Students

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Small, liberal arts college administrators are growing increasingly concerned as their enrollment numbers fall.

The Boston Globe reports undergraduate enrollment trends at 118 four-year private colleges in the region show one out of five of those colleges have had an enrollment drop of at least 10 percent.

Newbury College in Brookline is facing the most severe drop, with its enrollment declining 86 percent over 20 years.

The number of high school graduates shrinking may be the problem. People have had fewer children since the 2008 recession, and the price tags of high-tuition schools drive families away.

Retired Ohio University economics professor Richard Vedder predicts 500 U.S. colleges will close in the next decade, leaving large, private Ivy League schools safe, along with public colleges. Tinier schools like Eastern Nazarene College, Marlboro College and Boston Architectural College will struggle.