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School Closings

By Meredith E. Greene

Several school financial specialists projected this week that about 200 non-specialized private colleges will shut their doors in the 1980s--four times the number that closed in the '70s--and attributed the closings to the decline in the birthrate 18 years ago.

Joseph O'Neill, executive director of the Conference of Small Private Colleges, an institute providing technical services to small colleges nationally, said the shortage of 18-year-olds enrolling in small schools prevents the colleges from meeting their overhead costs.

While federal loan cutbacks have scared away many applicants who would have helped to compensate the college's operating costs, financial advisors said that the cutbacks have not severely affected the college's financial stability.

O'Neill did not deny that financial cutbacks were part of the cause for the financial distress of the small schools, saying that "financial cutbacks just make it worse."

The president of Nasson, a liberal arts college in Maine with an enrollment of 380, announced earlier this week that unless the college drastically reworked its financial system, the school would go bankrupt under the federal bankrupt code before the end of this term.

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