How a college with 340 students lost $220 million in five years

Jon Marcus:

The Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, with its sleek, glass-walled buildings around a peaceful grass oval, has earned glowing international attention for the successful ways it has pioneered the teaching of undergraduate engineering.

Built from scratch with hundreds of millions of dollars from a private foundation and a commitment to charging no tuition, 12-year-old Olin has attracted standout faculty, even though it does not give tenure. Top companies recruit its high-achieving students, who graduate at enviable rates into jobs with above-average starting salaries.

Behind the accolades, however, Olin has been bleeding red ink.