This chart shows the number of colleges that have closed over the past 25 years

With the closing of Sweet Briar College last week, many people in higher education fear this is a sign of what’s to come, with more and more schools potentially shutting their doors for good.

However, even if several colleges close this academic year, it still wouldn’t be unusual. Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics, we’ve put together a chart showing how many four-year colleges have closed over the past 25 years.

The numbers appear to fluctuate year to year, from a high of 10 closings to a low of zero.

Check out the chart below:

Most of the schools included here are private, nonprofit four-year colleges, although a handful are public four-year colleges. The chart does not includes mergers between two or more colleges — just colleges that have closed.

While there doesn’t appear to be a visible trend in the above chart, a 2013 Vanderbilt University study found that the average number of private four-year colleges that have closed or were acquired every year had recently doubled, according to Bloomberg.

It’s also important to note that while the chart currently looks like this, with no clear trend, this could change in the next few years. If enrollment trends and high deficits cause more colleges to close, there may be higher numbers of schools shuttering their doors than ever before.

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