College Closures & Student Outcomes

November 2, 2023

The Research Center first reported on the outcomes of students who experienced a college closure in a three-report series in collaboration with the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO), with funding from Arnold Ventures. The first report, Investigating the Impacts of College Closures on Student Outcomes, was co-produced by the Research Center and SHEEO in November 2022, providing a descriptive analysis of the students who experienced a closure and their longitudinal enrollment and credential attainment outcomes after closure. SHEEO continued to leverage the Research Center’s robust data to produce the second and third reports on causal effects of closure and how adverse impacts can be mitigated by state policies.

To continue research that helps the field better understand the impact of college closures on student education trajectories, we present a data dashboard featuring new insights based on existing data that expand our discussion of College Closures in the original report series.

Closed Institution Characteristics

Our original report series found that students who experienced an abrupt college closure had lower reenrollment and completion rates than their peers who experienced an orderly closure. New analysis reveals that completion rates depend not only on what type of closure students experienced, but also whether they were able to reenroll at a branch campus of their closed institution.

SCNC-Closure Students

Utilizing data from the Some College, No Credential (SCNC) and College Closure report series, we identify students who became part of the SCNC population following college closure. This analysis reveals that nearly 1 in 3 students who experienced closure became part of the SCNC population as a result. SCNC students with closure experience have lower re-enrollment rates than SCNC students without closure experience, even if they had two or more years of prior enrollment.

Navigate details for Closed Institution Characteristics (Tab 1) and SCNC-Closure Students (Tabs 2 and 3) using the tabs at the top of the dashboard.

Report 1 quantified the impacts of college closures on students’ subsequent postsecondary enrollment and completion outcomes and identified the policy levers states may have to support students who experience a closure.

Reports 2 and 3 explored the causal effects of college closures by looking at a matched sample of students and the post-closure student protection policies that aim to reduce the harm associated with closure.

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