BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – Medaille University closing its doors raises the question: how did this happen and could we see more colleges and universities in Western New York follow suit?

Buffalo State University professor Fred Floss says statewide, there are about 35,000 fewer college students. He says because of the that, institutions are struggling.

“Schools are scrambling to try and attract students, so it’s not unexpected that some of the colleges were going to have to close with the fewer students that we have in New York state. Medaille just happens to be the college that’s closed first,” Floss said.

With Medaille closing, that leaves hundreds of people without well paying jobs in the area. Floss says that could have a negative effect on the local economy.

“That’s not only going to have an impact on the individuals that lost their jobs, but think about all the families in Western New York that were being supported on these jobs,” he said. “If these families try to find another place to work and they leave, that’s going to leave a big hole in the economy of Western New York.”

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz also weighed in Medaille closing on Tuesday. Both Poloncarz and Floss say it was only a matter of time before one of the colleges or universities closed.

“We could see other schools that are in financial distress around Western New York and around New York state, either close or start to cut back particular programs,” Floss said.

“It’s not surprising based on how the educational field is right now. We probably have too many instituations of higher education in Erie County based on the size of our population,” Poloncarz said. “I was hoping Medaille would survive, but it may not be the only one, there could be others in the future. You’re seeing this across the country.”

Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter and Buffalo native who has been a part of the News 4 team since 2019. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMinkewicz and click here to see more of her work.