Hampshire College, a small private liberal arts college in Amherst, Massachusetts opened in 1970. And it may be closing soon. This past Friday, its board of trustees voted not to accept an incoming class for this fall. However, the school is still willing to enroll 77 students for the Class of 2023. This breaks down to 41 who were admitted in its first round of early decision and 36 admitted last year who took a gap year. By comparison, Hampshire enrolled 290 freshmen in 2018.
We have previously discussed the expected decline in the number of US colleges. We fully expect many of the first colleges to close to be small, private liberal arts colleges like Hampshire College. In fact, last week Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont also announced it would be closing.
It’s great Hampshire College is keeping its word and trying to do the right thing. However, we can’t help but wonder if those Class of 2023 admits would be better off elsewhere. What type of faculty and support staff will these students have if/when the school closes? If they miss a chance to take a seldom-offered class, will they have to switch majors?
Given the timing of Hampshire College’s announcement, we assume the school will allow its ED students an option to get out of the binding admissions offer. Of course, with the January 1 deadline passed, many students may have to wait and attempt a transfer in a year or two.