Sat, Feb 15, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Pingtung college to close amid heavy debt

Staff writer, with CNA

A 10-year-old college in the south has become the first school to close under the twin burdens of low enrolment and heavy debt.

Kao Fong College of Digital Content in Pingtung County announced on its Web site on Thursday that it will close next month after helping its more than 600 students transfer to other schools in the area.

The school owes its faculty members and creditors NT$300 million (US$9.9 million). The Ministry of Education last month ordered to school to shut down unless it could submit a viable plan to improve its financial situation.

Kao Fong College acting president Hsieh Chieh-huang (謝捷晃) said the school board reached the decision earlier this month to cut further losses after it failed to find a company that is willing to take over the management of the school.

The college is built on land rented from the state-owned Taiwan Sugar Corp and will now be returned to the company, Hsieh said.

About 70 members of the school’s teachers and other staff have not received their full salaries since May last year.

Kao Fong is one of at least two dozen schools on the ministry’s watch list considered to be in danger of having to shut down.

Several other colleges could follow in its footsteps, as school enrolment drops because of an aging population.

The nation’s low fertility rate — which has remained below 2 since at least the mid-1980s — poses a serious challenge to colleges and high schools — mostly private ones — as many struggle to find enough students to fill their classrooms.

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