The Wall Street Journal ran an article titled Coronavirus Pushes Colleges to the Breaking Point, Forcing ‘Hard Choices’ About Education (April 30, 2020).

« Forecast declines in enrollment and revenue trigger spending cuts and salary freezes; ‘the world order has changed’ »

« Johns Hopkins University went from projecting a $72 million surplus this fiscal year to expecting a net loss of more than $100 million. »

« At Northeastern University in Boston, 18% of students are international and may not be able or willing to travel to the U.S. come fall. »

« Vanderbilt University student James Hunter Long said he likely will take a semester or year off if classes remain online in the fall. “You’re not going to Vanderbilt to go online” »

« For many schools, the pandemic is exposing flaws in their own business models. Even before the virus hit, many colleges and universities were running on razor-thin margins, with 30% of those rated by Moody’s Investors Service showing operating deficits. »


Collin Binkley wrote an article for the Associated Press titled  Unimpressed by online classes, college students seek refunds (May 4, 2020).

« Class-action lawsuits demanding tuition refunds have been filed against at least 26 colleges, targeting prestigious private universities, including Brown, Columbia and Cornell, along with big public schools, including Michigan State, Purdue and the University of Colorado, Boulder. »

« Along with tuition, the cases also seek refunds for fees that students paid to access gyms, libraries, labs and other buildings that are now closed. All told, the complaints seek refunds that could add up to several thousand dollars per student at some schools. »

« “The tuition price speaks for itself,” [Roy Willey, a lawyer for the Anastopoulo Law Firm in South Carolina, which is representing students in more than a dozen cases] said. “These students decided to go to in-person, on-campus universities. They could have chosen to go to online colleges and earn their degree that way, but they didn’t.” »

In response to this article, Gale Wilberger commented on Twitter:  « Gap year explosion »


By James B. Meigs worte an Op/Ed piece for the New York Post titled Post-pandemic, four-year colleges need to change — or face extinction (May 9, 2020).

« Analysts estimate fall enrollment could drop as much as 20 percent, adding up to a $45 billion revenue loss. »

« Oren Cass, author of  The Once and Future Worker, [said] “Programs that don’t deliver value — whether particular departments and degrees or entire campuses — are going to find no one has the spare resources to waste on them.”  »

« “It will be worst for expensive, but non-elite private schools,” predicts Glenn Reynolds, author of The Higher Education Bubble. Many schools are unlikely to survive. »


Scott Galloway wrote a blog post titled Post Corona: Higher Ed, Part Deux  (May 29, 2020).

« Our nation’s superpower is optimism… With Covid-19, optimism is also our Achilles heel… Covid-19 doesn’t care about our emotions… Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the bold, declarative statements from university presidents and chancellors that their campuses will be reopening in the fall. »

« The hallucination is a function of a disturbing reality: A $50,000 “experience” tuition is a comorbidity during Covid-19. Universities with cost structures dependent on foreign students and luxury brand margins face sudden fiscal crises if a chunk of their students don’t show up in the fall. »

« Schools charging $50,000/year or more (Brown, NYU) have value propositions that have been rendered untenable overnight. The elimination of the university experience is similar to SeaWorld without killer whales… I’m not paying $450 to see otters and penguins. Also, we’re not paying $54,000 for Zoom classes. »

« The killer whales (cash cows) of high-tuition prestige universities are international students. We claim we let them in for diversity. This is bullshit. International students are the least diverse cohort on earth. They are all rich kids who pay full tuition, get jobs at multinational corporations, and often return to the family business. At NYU, they constitute 27% of our student body and likely half our cash flow, as they are ineligible for financial aid. »

« Regardless of enrollments in the fall, with endowments of $4 billion or more, Brown and NYU will be fine… However, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of universities with a sodium pentathol cocktail of big tuition and small endowments that will begin their death march this fall. »

« The corporatization of campuses, bloated administrations, tenure, a lack of accountability, and a god complex that we, academics, are noble when in fact we’ve been preying on the hopes and dreams of middle class families and indebting them… all need to be attacked, aggressively. »

« In sum, elite universities will be fine. Yale has an endowment of $2 million per student. Tier 2 and 3 schools with high tuitions are the next department stores — not long for this world. And tier 1 public universities have a generational opportunity to achieve greatness in the agency of the unremarkable, again. »

« I miss campus a great deal. However, I miss college as a public good more. »


[ Corona virus, COVID-19 ]

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