In this Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, photo, students walk on the campus of Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vt. The liberal arts college, which saw enrollment drop 43 percent over the last decade, announced it will close in May, going the way of some other small schools that have struggled to stay afloat. (Lisa Rathke/Associated Press)

POULTNEY, Vt. — As more private colleges fold under financial pressure, state officials in New England have been looking into increasing their oversight of the schools to help protect students.

Several colleges have struggled to stay afloat amid a shift toward more career-oriented training and, particularly in college-rich New England, a decline in the number of high school students.

In Massachusetts, where at least 17 colleges have closed or merged over the past six years, state education officials are moving forward with a plan to screen colleges every year and gauge their risk of closing.

In Vermont, legislators are looking into requiring that a school placed on probation for financial reasons by its accrediting agency inform the state of its status and submit a plan for student records, setting money aside if necessary.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.