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The College Stress Test

Tracking Institutional Futures across a Crowded Market

Robert Zemsky, Susan Shaman, and Susan Campbell Baldridge

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Provides an insightful analysis of the market stresses that threaten the viability of some of America's colleges and universities while delivering a powerful predictive tool to measure an institution's risk of closure.

In The College Stress Test, Robert Zemsky, Susan Shaman, and Susan Campbell Baldridge present readers with a full, frank, and informed discussion about college and university closures. Drawing on the massive institutional data set available from IPEDS (the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System), they build a stress test for estimating the market viability of more than 2…

Provides an insightful analysis of the market stresses that threaten the viability of some of America's colleges and universities while delivering a powerful predictive tool to measure an institution's risk of closure.

In The College Stress Test, Robert Zemsky, Susan Shaman, and Susan Campbell Baldridge present readers with a full, frank, and informed discussion about college and university closures. Drawing on the massive institutional data set available from IPEDS (the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System), they build a stress test for estimating the market viability of more than 2,800 undergraduate institutions. They examine four key variables—new student enrollments, net cash price, student retention, and major external funding—to gauge whether an institution is potentially at risk of considering closure or merging with another school. They also assess student body demographics to see which students are commonly served by institutions experiencing market stress. The book's appendix includes a powerful do-it-yourself tool that institutions can apply, using their own IPEDS data, to understand their level of risk.

The book's underlying statistical analysis makes clear that closings will not be nearly as prevalent as many prognosticators are predicting and will in fact impact relatively few students. The authors argue that just 10 percent or fewer of the nation's colleges and universities face substantial market risk, while 60 percent face little or no market risk. The remaining 30 percent of institutions, the authors find, are bound to struggle. To thrive, the book advises, these schools will need to reconsider the curricula they deliver, the prices they charge, and their willingness to experiment with new modes of instruction.

The College Stress Test provides an urgently needed road map at a moment when the higher education terrain is shifting. Those interested in and responsible for the fate of these institutions will find in this book a clearly defined set of risk indicators, a methodology for monitoring progress over time, and an evidence-based understanding of where they reside in the landscape of institutional risk.

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The College Stress Test

Robert Zemsky, Susan Shaman, and Susan Campbell Baldridge

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Reviews

Reviews

The timely volume, The College Stress Test, provides a framework for colleges to review their institutional health.

This volume is a useful antidote to the dire tales of higher education's financial woes and warnings of major disruption on the horizon. The authors pull us back from the ledge to offer a more tempered and nuanced analysis, identifying which schools and students are at greatest risk and reassuring readers that signs do not point to an overall upheaval of the entire education sector.

The College Stress Test sets a standard for open, candid, and data-driven discussion about the health of America's colleges and universities. It's a positive message about how best to prepare for change from within without waiting for external forces to shape the agenda. At the campus level, stakeholders should make good use of the stress measurement tool to determine where they are so they can plan for where they need to be.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
168
ISBN
9781421437033
Illustration Description
46 graphs
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Prologue. Is It Closing Time?
Chapter 1. Threat, Reassurance, and Grief
Chapter 2. A Winner's Market
Chapter 3. A Calculus for Risk
Chapter 4. The Distribution of Risk
Chapter 5. Winners

Acknowledgments
Prologue. Is It Closing Time?
Chapter 1. Threat, Reassurance, and Grief
Chapter 2. A Winner's Market
Chapter 3. A Calculus for Risk
Chapter 4. The Distribution of Risk
Chapter 5. Winners and Losers
Chapter 6. Those Who Are Bound to Struggle
Chapter 7. Changing the Slope
Appendixes
A. Risk Index Workbook for Institutional Analysts
B. On Squaring the Circle
C. A Note on Verification
References
Index

Author Bios
Robert Zemsky
Featured Contributor

Robert Zemsky

Robert Zemsky is a professor of higher education at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of Checklist for Change: Making American Higher Education a Sustainable Enterprise and the coauthor of The College Stress Test: Tracking Institutional Futures across a Crowded Market.
Featured Contributor

Susan Shaman

Susan Shaman is the former director of institutional research at the University of Pennsylvania. With Zemsky, she is the coauthor of The Market Imperative: Segmentation and Change in Higher Education.