Regional colleges have long played the role of community economic engines. For many students, the educational experience they offer is more aligned with the needs and opportunities in the local workforce than is that of their state’s flagship institution.
But post-recession economic headwinds have worked against these smaller, less-resourced institutions. Many are facing financial pressures driven by declining budgets and changing demographics that are forcing a reorganization of higher education across the country. And although such moves can be controversial and take years to implement, experts say the trend is only expected to continue.