Significant Cuts To College Language Programs Highlight Financial Troubles

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Yale University(Pixabay)
Yale University(Pixabay)

With Meghna Chakrabarti

A forthcoming report from the Modern Language Association shows colleges shuttered more than 650 language programs from 2013 to 2016.


Steven Johnson, staff reporter for the Chronicle of Higher Education. (@stetyjohn)

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The Chronicle of Higher Education: "Colleges Lose a ‘Stunning’ 651 Foreign-Language Programs in 3 Years" — "Colleges closed more than 650 foreign-language programs in a recent three-year period, according to a forthcoming report from the Modern Language Association.

"The new data, which the MLA shared with The Chronicle, suggest that it took several years for the full effect of the recession of 2008 to hit foreign-language programs. Higher education, in aggregate, lost just one such program from 2009 to 2013. From 2013 to 2016, it lost 651, said Dennis Looney, director of programs at the MLA.

"The net loss is a 'stunning statistic' that may illustrate how extensively colleges designated foreign-language programs for cuts, said Looney, who also directs the MLA's Association of Departments of Foreign Languages. 'I don't want to call it a trend yet," he said, but "everything has really accelerated.'

"'I'm really concerned that in 2020,' when the MLA plans to conduct its next survey, 'that number is going to be higher,' he added.

"Spanish, which still accounts for about half of enrollments in languages other than English, had a net loss of 118 programs. French lost 129, German 86, and Italian 56. Among the 15 most commonly taught languages, only American Sign Language, biblical Hebrew, and Korean saw a net increase in programs, Looney said."

Stefano Kotsonis produced this segment for broadcast.

This segment aired on January 23, 2019.



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