RALEIGH -- A faltering economy has officials at North Carolina's private colleges worried that their schools will have fewer students next year. The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Monday that the private schools already have hiring freezes and are cutting courses and delaying construction. The schools depend on tuition and earnings from their investments. The largest fear for the colleges is that students will leave for cheaper public universities or not go to school at all. Problems range from a $1 billion decline in the value of Duke University's endowment to declining enrollments and debt at smaller schools. The newspaper said a national survey of 371 private institutions showed they expected enrollment to decline as much as 10 percent next semester. (Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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