Dear Professor Kaufman,
Impact on colleges will be immense.
University of Minnesota is near the negro riots.
Many colleges are very left wing.
Will have to close.
Colleges will have to get back in the business of education.
Become essential, not unessential.
Colleges are looking more like airports,
or Jack in the Box fast food.
Students pop in, sit down, goof off, chit-chat,
go to ball games,
buy expensive text books that are dumbed down,
never read books,
End up with huge college debts and no jobs!
system has to change!
Looking for bailouts from Trump?
Colleges across the nation are scrambling to close deep budget holes
and some have been pushed to the brink of collapse
after the coronavirus outbreak triggered financial losses
that could total more than $100 million at some institutions.
Scores of colleges say they're taking heavy hits as they refund money to students for housing, dining and parking after campuses closed last month.
Many schools are losing millions more in ticket sales after athletic seasons were cut short,
and some say huge shares of their reserves have been wiped out amid wild swings in the stock market.
Yet college leaders say that's only the start of their troubles:
Even if campuses reopen this fall, many worry large numbers of students won't return.
There's widespread fear that an economic downturn will leave many Americans unable to afford tuition,
and universities are forecasting steep drop-offs among international students
who may think twice about studying abroad so soon after a pandemic.
"If you play out the scenarios that are out there, it really makes you nervous,"
San Jose State University, which estimates it will lose $16 million by the end of May.
"We may be looking at cutting academic programs if it comes to it.
We may be looking at laying off people.
It's a dire situation if the worst comes to pass."
Dozens of colleges have instituted hiring freezes,
and many are halting construction projects so they have enough money to pay employees.
But university presidents say the savings will only stretch so far,
and many are asking the federal government for a second stimulus package to avoid deeper cuts.
The $2 trillion rescue bill signed by President Donald Trump last month provides $14 billion for higher education.
The American Council on Education, an association of college presidents, had requested $50 billion and called the package
"This crisis is causing massive disruption to students, institutional operations and institutional finances.
On some campuses, it is creating an existential threat, potentially resulting in closures,"
Even colleges with deep reserves are expecting a painful financial blow from the pandemic.
Brown University was among the first to announce a hiring freeze, citing "dramatic reductions in revenue."
Yale University followed on March 31, asking departments to update budgets in preparation of a "significant loss" in revenue.
The University of California, Berkeley,
and the University of Wisconsin, Madison,
each expect losses of about $100 million,
and that's assuming campuses reopen by this fall.
It leaves some colleges wondering if they can meet demand for financial aid,
which is expected to surge as millions of Americans lose their jobs.
Many schools draw from their endowments to pay for scholarships,
faculty jobs and campus operations,
but those reserves have taken deep losses as markets tumble.
Bucknell University in Pennsylvania says it has lost $150 million from its endowment after recent investment losses.
At the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts,
the endowment has dropped by 15% and officials fear a similar drop in fundraising.
"Financial aid is going to be a bigger hit this year,"
. "We're going to be looking at all current expenditures and going through them with a fine-tooth comb."
Perhaps the greatest question for colleges is fall enrollment.
Recent surveys have found that large shares of high school seniors plan to take a gap year before starting college.
At the same time, colleges have been forced to cancel campus visits and other events designed to court students.
It's a major concern for colleges that have come to rely on international students, especially those from China.
At the University of Connecticut, which hosted nearly 3,000 students from China last fall,
officials are bracing for international enrollment to drop by 25% to 75%, a loss of up to $70 million next year.
Still, the financial shock is likely to be strongest at
smaller private colleges
and regional public universities,
which hold smaller reserves
and run on leaner budgets.
Some are adding significant costs to move classes online
even as they lose revenue.
"It's this major double whammy with multiple hits on the revenue side and new hits on the cost side,"
"I'm afraid we're going to lose some private institutions.
I have no idea how many, but many were operating on the margin already.",
At Benedict College, a historically black school in Columbia, South Carolina, officials expect to lose $2 million in housing refunds out of a $52 million budget.
was already under financial strain, is looking for ways to cut costs
and says it will pursue layoffs if needed.
"We have to think clearly about the future of the institution,"
school of 2,000 students.
"The notion of refunding an amount this significant would cripple the institution,
there's no doubt."
Mississippi's Millsaps College, which has fought to maintain enrollment in recent years,
expects to refund $1 million in housing fees out of $33 million in yearly revenue.
Amid uncertainty around the fall, the school's faculty and staff have been making daily calls to help attract prospective students.
Other colleges face more pressing threats to their survival.
At Central Washington University, a public university of 12,000 students,
the school's governing board has declared a "state of financial exigency"
authorizing the school's president to take any action to stay afloat,
including faculty layoffs.
And for some schools, the latest losses have proved insurmountable.
MacMurray College, a private school in Jacksonville, Illinois, announced that it will close permanently after this spring.
Disruption caused by COVID-19 wasn't the only factor in the decision, officials said, but it "complicated" the school's financial health.
Other schools are postponing campus maintenance
and asking faculty to cancel future travel,
but some say layoffs are unavoidable.
At Miami University in Ohio, which is bracing for a 20% drop in new students, officials are drafting plans that would cut half or all of the school's visiting assistant professors.
the president at San Jose State, has urged Congress to provide additional aid to help avoid damaging cuts.
Her college will try to prevent layoffs,
but needs to do "whatever it takes" to survive.
"This is what we had in 2008, but many times worse,"
referring to the Great Recession.
"The hurt is deeper this time, and the recovery period will be longer.
And there will be many students who are lost or injured because of it."
The effects of the coronavirus on higher education have been profound.
Students are taking their courses totally online.
Dorms have shuttered,
forcing many students to move home.
the admissions process has been disrupted.
All of this
—along with the economic downturn
—has left colleges across the country on shaky financial footing.
And it might get worse.
The shift to online instruction might seem easy to some, but it's less than simple.
For many schools without a large online presence,
that means spending money with a vendor
to build out the needed infrastructure
to have all courses online.
Because most students and faculty aren't on campus anymore,
some schools have had to purchase laptops and other technology
to help them in this transition.
But technology won't be the only cost.
Students were told to leave campus due to the public health concerns of the virus.
Many of those students will likely seek refunds of their room and board charges for the remainder of the academic year.
Some students have already sued their colleges demanding the refunds,
some even want refunds for tuition.
Cash strapped colleges will have a hard time balancing a budget
if they lose a massive amount of revenue they were relying on
this late in the academic year.
Congress passed the CARES Act to provide relief from the coronavirus
and it allocated money for colleges and students.
It sent grants to colleges with half to provide emergency grants directly to students for basic needs expenses,
like housing, health care, and technology.
(Those grants can't be used to cover housing refunds.)
The other half of the grants from the CARES Act is to offset other costs from the coronavirus,
but for many schools it won't be enough to cover the costs of technology, housing refunds, and more.
Colleges have already asked Congress for more money.
And worse, colleges and universities are now looking down the road to a likely recession.
It's unclear what a recession will mean for enrollment this time around.
Normally, college enrollment spikes in recessions
as people seek to reskill for the new economy.
Or they choose to enroll given the poor job prospects,
though they wouldn't have otherwise.
But families feeling uncertainty around the economy right now might decide against enrolling
— or at least consider a gap year.
But recessions can mean a litany of other negative impacts on college campuses.
If enrollment rises, under-resourced schools could be stretched thin trying to support significantly more students that normal.
The economic impacts of a recession can also hurt schools.
As the market drops, so do college endowments.
A weak economy can also mean that donors are less able or willing to provide the support colleges and universities rely on to fund scholarships, buildings, and more.
Recessions can also mean serious state budget cuts that often lead to budget cuts for public higher education.
It could even mean less money for state-based financial aid for students.
That, of course, leads to higher tuition bills for students and families and tighter budgets for schools.
In recent years, some college campuses have closed their doors for good.
A financial crisis in higher education could cause several more campuses to close, particularly those already struggling.
Abrupt closures are very problematic for students,
leaving them in the lurch as they try to continue their education.
It also disrupts the communities where the colleges are based,
especially in rural communities where the institution is often one of the biggest employers.
Policymakers are considering more relief from the coronavirus and higher education
should be one of the major industries considered because without some assistance,
students and families will likely experience serious disruptions.
Some colleges have already announced layoffs, furloughs, and pay cuts.
This will only continue if the fall comes with more social distancing and economic fallout.