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Higher education in the U.S. is under significant strain. Although the general public still views higher education as a positive, the proportion who feel that it is not worth the cost is rising. During the past decade higher education has experienced decreasing enrollments for the vast majority of colleges and universities, except the very large institution (>30,000 students). A reflection of changing demographics and changing student and employer expectations – adding to the significant excess post-secondary capacity inherent in the nation.  Understanding that institutional closures do not benefit anyone, particularly the students, that the longer institutions wait the less likely they are to find a merger partner, and that mergers represent not only opportunities to survive but also to thrive, it is concerning that there are still many more closures than mergers.

The Center for Higher Education Mergers and Acquisitions (‘CHEMA’) at the Foundation for Research and Education Excellence (‘FREE Foundation’) serves as a non-political think tank, studying issues and challenges, generating data, and developing analyses and guidance related to mergers, consolidations, acquisitions, closures, corporate conversions, and other corporate restructuring strategies in higher education to help inform and achieve better informed policy outcomes, better economic decisions, and better outcomes for post-secondary students.

If you are interested in learning more about CHEMA and its work, please contact us at