Goddard College in Vermont is ending on-campus residency programs and shifting classes to online only, at least for now, the local newspaper Seven Days reported.
Declining enrollment and rising operational costs are driving the move, which will be accompanied by an estimated dozen job cuts, the newspaper reported. The shift online is expected to be temporary.
“Inflation and increased maintenance costs continue to make it progressively more difficult to maintain a fully operational campus for the fewer and fewer students choosing the in-person residency option,” President Dan Hocoy said in a letter to campus, Seven Days reported.
Goddard’s instructional model allows students to combine distance learning with short-term campus residencies. It offers limited housing for students who come to campus for short stints and will now look to expand partnerships with local employers to lease residence halls to house workers. Currently the college rents a reported 30 of its 150 beds to workers at a local factory.
Hocoy told Seven Days that Goddard enrolled 250 students last fall. That number is down from 340 in fall 2019 and from 592 in fall 2013, according to the Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. That means enrollment has fallen by more than half over the past decade.
While some critics have suggested the move will likely result in a closure, Hocoy disputed that notion, arguing that surveys show Goddard students prefer online learning and the move will help the college “be sustainable in the long run.”