New England's Disappearing Satellite College Campuses (Blog)

Ann McClure's picture

Only a generation ago, such universities as Northeastern and Boston University had campuses strategically sprinkled throughout eastern Massachusetts.

Lesley University offered graduate education programs across the United States. Boston University had a contract with the U.S. Army to deliver master's programs on military bases throughout Europe. Mega-high-tech companies, such as Digital Equipment Corp., volunteered their corporate classrooms to universities for programs for their employees. Local correctional facilities opened their prison doors to community colleges to teach the incarcerated. Higher education thrived in various local settings, especially for adults returning to college on a part-time basis. Much of this has now vanished - though perhaps it is re-emerging in new forms and for very different purposes.

Why did satellite campuses boom, and then fold? Despite recent publicity about new sites nationally and overseas, this has actually been a declining business for most established institutions. But are new campuses likely to once again be a growth industry?

In the 1960s and 1970s, there was a rush of enrollments from those who realized the importance of completing their bachelor's degree. Women returning to higher education after raising children, along with others seeking to move up the corporate ladder, now realized that Massachusetts universities were willing to respond to their needs. Employers were increasingly likely to foot the bill, coupled with the generous tax deduction that undergraduate and graduate students receive.

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