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Colleges Face 'Existential Threat'

Coronavirus is huge trouble for universities large and small
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2020 12:10 PM CDT

(Newser) – "The math is not pretty." That's the understated assessment of a Seton Hall expert to NPR on the financial toll the coronavirus is taking on colleges and universities across the nation. And the pain isn't expected to end anytime soon as students remain home and take classes online. At this point, nobody is quite sure what the fall semester will look like, but schools and students already are preparing for more off-campus learning. Coverage:

  • Big picture: NPR has the details on that non-pretty math. Schools are refunding room and board, along with parts of tuition. They're losing revenue on sports and campus events, and they're bracing for lower enrollment in the fall (particularly for international students). On top of those losses, they're often spending money to bolster the tech necessary for online learning.
  • Dire assessment: "This will touch every sector of higher education. Every size of institution, every region of the country," says Dominique Baker, a professor of education policy at SMU. And for some colleges, particularly those in remote or rural locales, "this is an existential threat that means they'll have to close." Also, public campuses might see funding from strapped states drastically reduced.

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