Two stories today inĀ Inside Higher Ed are all the more powerful for their proximity.

Not only are mid-tier schools, without strong brands or big endowments, beginning to suffer, but the numbers of international students on American campuses is growing rapidly.

Here’s the summary fromĀ Inside Higher Ed:


What’s interesting about both articles is the room for rationalization. Loyola writes off their challenges to moving their discount rate from 57% to 55% over a period of years. Yeah, that’s the reason 300 students didn’t show up.

And the dominance of international students? Clearly relegated to graduate engineering programs. And who cares about those?

Friends who teach ESL (English as a Second Language) have been tracking the growth in international students over the past few years. Clearly, cash-starved US institutions are taking more students from overseas who will pay full freight. And there are many millions who will sacrifice to get into top US institutions. The enrollments in first-year English courses designed for international students reflect this growth…where there were once a section or two for non-English speakers there are now mini-programs staffed with instructors and tutors, processing hundreds of students.

Maybe Loyola New Orleans needs to do more recruiting in hot and steamy China. And maybe their brand is strong enough to draw those highly name-conscious students…

Combined, these stories paint a dim future for the bottom 75% of private US institutions as the number of traditional US students slowly sinks (just demographics), their choices go up (Straighterline, SNHU, Dream Degree…), and price sensitivity goes WAY up.