August 14th, 2014
Earl F. Cheit, an educator who in 1970 wrote a sobering, influential report saying that two-thirds of the colleges and universities in the United States were in or near grave financial difficulty, died on Aug. 2 at his home in Kensington, Calif. He was 87.
The University of California, Berkeley, where he was a longtime administrator and professor, announced the death, giving the cause as cancer.
Dr. Cheit’s 250-page report, titled “The New Depression in Higher Education” and sponsored by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, examined 41 private and public colleges and universities in 21 states and the District of Columbia. Based on research Dr. Cheit (pronounced “chite”) directed, it found that 70 percent of these were either in financial difficulty or “headed for trouble.”
The analysis was particularly jolting because it came as baby boomers were flocking to campuses, which had expanded to meet the demand. Research at universities had grown exponentially as course offerings and majors increased.