The great college bull market is over. We noted that earlier this year when we said, "20% of colleges and universities will shut down or merge in the next ten years."
The for-profit education boom and bust is old news. Now the virus-induced recession will pulverize nearly every higher education facility in the country.
Even before the pandemic, enrollment was declining, and finances at colleges and universities were quickly deteriorating, an indication the bull market is over.
Rising virus cases has undoubtedly complicated the picture for reopening colleges and universities this fall semester. The president has demanded schools reopen, while Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, warned virus cases must be controlled before children return to schools.
Trump tweeted Wednesday: "I disagree with @CDCgov on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools. While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!"
At the same time, the Trump administration has requested international students to leave the country if their college and or university switch to online-only courses, which will undoubtedly pressure the finances of these institutions.
Given these long term and short term factors resulting in the implosion of higher education - the unraveling is set to accelerate in the quarters ahead as colleges and universities are now closing forever, forced to sell campuses at auction.
Green Mountain College, a private liberal arts college in Poultney, Vermont, is the latest college to go bust, will be auctioned by Maltz Auctions, a premier full-service auction company, with a starting bid at $3 million.
The 155-acre campus, located in the Historic downtown of Poultney, was previously listed for $23 million.
"This quintessential New England campus had been the home of Green Mountain College, a private 4-year liberal arts school focused on environmental, social, and economic sustainability, which unfortunately closed at the end of 2019," stated Keith Lowey of Verdolino & Lowey, the Chief Restructuring Officer for Green Mountain College.
"It's truly a turn-key opportunity for the right buyer as it is comprised of classic New England dormitory buildings, classrooms, administrative offices, lecture halls, cafeteria, student center, community space, library building, athletic facilities- including fields, gymnasium, pool, and more, a 400-seat theater/auditorium, fine arts studios and galleries, a working farm, guest residences, and a campus-wide wood-fueled biomass (carbon neutral) heating system." Lowey then added, "In 2016, the property was appraised at $20m. There are also favorable financing options available for qualified buyers with $3.2m being the next bid increment accepted."
Maltz Auction's CEO, Richard Maltz, said, "We are pleased there was great interest in this property as it represents an exceptionally rare opportunity to acquire an environmentally sustainable, green campus that is superbly located and beautifully maintained in a single transaction. The party who placed the $3m stalking horse bid understands that there is incredible reuse or redevelopment potential- and great value."
The auction is expected to take place on August 18, around 1:00 p.m.