In Slumping Economy, Colleges Forced to Keep Enrollment Numbers Up

<p><strong>Phoenix &mdash; Aug. 7</strong><br />Not only is the weakening U.S. economy creating challenges for students and parents trying to pay for college this year, it&#39;s also forcing colleges and universities to find new tactics to maintain their enrollment numbers and accommodate students&#39; growing need for student loans and other forms of financial aid. <br /><br />Amid speculation about the effect of the current economy on the financial stability of higher education institutions, Moody&#39;s Investors Service, an international bond-rating company, had issued a stable financial outlook six months ago for the nation&#39;s colleges and universities. But now, an updated report from Moody&#39;s shows that in the worsening economy, certain schools could be headed for financial trouble. <br /><br />Institutions of higher education have typically been insulated from economic downturns, thanks to their resilient, diversified business models that draw on revenue from multiple sources, including the income from tuition and fees that families have continued to pay year after year, regardless of the state of the economy, even as those attendance costs have spiraled upward, far outpacing inflation. <br /><br />This year, however, almost all the financial resources parents and students normally rely on to help pay for college &mdash; private student loans, home equity loans, stock values, lines of credit &mdash; have become increasingly unavailable as a sagging economy limps along hand in hand with swelling unemployment and an ongoing credit crunch that grew out of the spectacular collapse of the subprime mortgage market. <br /><br />And although the government eased…



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