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Tests and the Rest: College Admissions Industry Podcast

Jan 24, 2023

The foundations of higher education are shifting, often subtly but sometimes with seismic force. Case in point, a confluence of economic, societal, and demographic trends will almost assuredly lead to school closures. The big questions are “Which ones and when?” Amy and Mike invited educational analyst Gary Stocker to understand the complexities of assessing college financial viability.

What are five things you will learn in this episode?

  1. What does financial viability mean in the context of colleges?
  2. Are all schools equally viable?
  3. What is at risk when attending a school with viability concerns?
  4. What factors reveal a school's financial viability?
  5. Are many schools likely to close or combine in the next year?


Gary Stocker has substantial business experience in health care and higher education with skills in sales and marketing, management, consulting, operations, and technology. From a small, central Illinois town, Stocker’s high school niche was in speech contests and serving as a student manager and athletic trainer for the football team. As a first-generation college student, he majored in medical technology at Eastern Illinois University. Stocker earned his tuition as a 3-year student manager of the university’s football team.   

Since 2004, Stocker’s most notable success has been the creation of a university/corporate academic partnership model for a large Midwestern healthcare system.  The dozen-plus programs he has developed have provided degree opportunities for hundreds who might otherwise not have had the opportunity.  His business unit was nationally recognized as a leader in developing innovative academic partnership models that serve all employees in an organization. 

His 2010 doctoral dissertation addressed the technological acceptance of electronic medical records by nurses.  His colleagues have recognized him as a skilled teacher, facilitator, and motivator during the hundreds of management and leadership classes he has taught. 

His work as a program director and full-time faculty at Lindenwood University included the development and implementation of a wide variety of data and analytical tools for course scheduling and course demand forecasting.  He was also recognized for his skills in using educational technology to enhance the quality and efficiency of learning for his students.  As the Chief-of-Staff to a small college president in Missouri, his first few months on the job introduced him to the fragile nature of college finances.  Efforts to find potential merger partners led Stocker to ultimately develop an app that lets users compare the financial health and viability of colleges in the United States

Stocker uses his experience in developing new business models for higher education that allow for greater efficiency and long-term growth.  Stocker says: "In the 21st century, geography is not a limiting factor to business growth in higher education.  Colleges and universities should focus on technology infrastructure to leverage available technologies to create new and stronger business opportunities.  His College Viability App provides consumers and higher education leaders with a resource to compare the financial health of American private colleges.

Stocker has stayed active as a basketball referee, baseball umpire, and pickleball pro.  

Find Gary at


College Viability

College Viability YouTube channel

This Week in College Viability Podcasts

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System 






Tests and the Rest is THE college admissions industry podcast. Explore all of our episodes on the show page.


Mike Bergin is the president of Chariot Learning and founder of TestBright. Amy Seeley is the president of Seeley Test Pros. If you’re interested in working with Mike and/or Amy for test preparation, training, or consulting, feel free to get in touch through our contact page.