States look to boost oversight of struggling small colleges

POULTNEY, Vt. (AP) — As more private colleges fold under financial pressure, state officials in New England have been looking into increasing their oversight of the schools to help protect students.

Several colleges have struggled to stay afloat amid a shift toward more career-oriented training and, particularly in college-rich New England, a decline in the number of high school students.

In Massachusetts, where at least 17 colleges have closed or merged over the past six years, state education officials are moving forward with a plan to screen colleges every year and gauge their risk of closing.

In Vermont, legislators are looking into requiring that a school placed on probation for financial reasons by its accrediting agency inform the state of its status and submit a plan for student records, setting money aside if necessary.

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