Small colleges' existential crisis


From Robert Whitcomb’s “Digital Diary,’’ in

The number of small nonelite New England private colleges that are closing because of dwindling finances and enrollments continue to grow. The latest is Green Mountain College, in tiny Poultney, Vt., and the College of St. Joseph, in the small Vermont city of Rutland.

This is sad because some of these colleges have very usefully served to help educate those whose academic backgrounds and family issues may have blocked them from getting into richer and/or more prestigious institutions. But these closings can also be a heavy economic blow to the small towns and cities so many are situated.

Can online courses take the place of most of these little colleges? How important is in-person teaching? To me, very.