Connecticut, like every other state in the nation, has an abundance of community colleges. Something most states don’t have though, is a plan in 2022 to unite all of these community colleges into a single college with campuses all across the state. Pennsylvania has similar plans to unite six four-year institutions into two larger universities.
These are just two examples of college mergers, a concept that has only grown to become more and more prominent in recent years. A college merger happens when one or more institutions decide to combine with another, typically for financial reasons. The merger requires all institutions’ board of trustees and accrediting bodies to sign off on the process, typically with the support of faculty and alumni alike.
The merger can then happen on a local level, across the nation, or internationally. These can be joint-ventures, expansions, or mass restructurings such as the planned mass community college in Connecticut. Online mergers are also growing in popularity as online universities continue to grow in size.
These mergers, while typically a positive tool to save schools from failure or irrelevancy, come with some definite downsides. Most of these come in the oversights and adjustments of mergers. Costs will rise, programs will be lost, and students may feel lost and without a sense of identity. This is something that may get better with time, but students will have to face the fact that their campus will never be the same again.
These are the ups and downs, examples, and applications of a college merger. All of this information is important to be aware of as college mergers are only going to become more common as individual colleges continue to struggle.