Oberlin College planning to lay off 108 employees in its dining services and custodial departments

Dave O’Brien:

The effort will save the college an estimated $2 million per year, it announced Tuesday.

Oberlin College is not the only four-year liberal arts college to take measures to improve its finances. Across the country, the number of college-age youths is shrinking as the population ages. That also means undergraduate enrollment is down, which in turn shrinks the amount colleges receive in tuition payments.

Fewer students are expected to graduate high school in the coming years, with a story at EducationNext.com from fall 2018 saying the decline already has taken place in the Midwest and Northeast, where there are more small, private colleges than in other regions of the U.S.

The late Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen predicted last decade that up to 50 percent of American universities would either close or go bankrupt within 10 years.

He and higher education writer Michael Horn explained in a 2013 New York Times article that “a host of struggling colleges and universities — the bottom 25 percent of every tier, we predict — will disappear or merge in the next 10 to 15 years,” Horn wrote in an article for Forbes in December 2018.