COVID-19 On Campus: Colleges Face Financial Strain As Cases Rise

COVID-19 On Campus: Colleges Face Financial Strain As Cases Rise

As Campuses Become COVID-19 Hot Spots, Colleges Strain Under Financial Pressures As the fall semester kicks into gear, college campuses have become the pandemic's newest hot spots. The New York Times reports there are more than 88,000 coronavirus cases at the nation's colleges and universities. Scott Carlson, a senior writer at The Chronicle of Higher Education, isn't surprised by those numbers. "A lot of people thought that there would be an explosion of cases on campus," Carlson says. "Most of the students that I talked to — for example, at USC — they all knew that the colleges couldn't keep this under control. They just wanted to turn up for a few weeks to see if they could have something of a fall semester experience." Carlson estimates that about 20% of American colleges or universities are offering primarily in-person classes, while 16% are offering a mix of in-person and online experiences. Many others are completely virtual. Carlson notes that in many cases, the decision to offer in-person classes was driven largely by financial concerns. "These colleges are under intense financial pressure given the trends in higher education," he says. "I think everybody involved really wanted to try to make this work. On the financial stress colleges and universities are under One small private college president in Ohio told me, "We make money on the dorms. We break even on dining, and we lose money on everything else, including the education and tuition." So for a number of these colleges, having students living ...
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