States across the country are preparing to re-open in structured phases to the delight of students and educators eager to return to “normal.” However, while phases of re-opening businesses provide a roadmap forward in the short-term, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on higher education in the long-term remains murky at best.
As unemployment continues to rise and the economic future of families across the country becomes more uncertain, colleges and universities are scrambling to prepare for the challenges of a new academic year. The traditional college “experience” must change in the wake of social distancing measures which will continue even after states re-open; plans to cancel all college sporting events, shrinking class sizes for students to remain at a distance, and cutting costs by freezing new faculty searches and building projects are already in place at many schools across the country. More concerning is the possibility that upwards of 200 higher education institutions could permanently close as enrollment drops due to the economic uncertainty left in the wake of the pandemic.
One thing remains certain: all schools are expanding and enhancing their online course offerings to students, which also requires a readjustment of tuition costs at the institutional level.
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