I have reported on Shoebat.com that the college “industry” will be under serious financial threats due to the fact that it has been built on an unsustainable model of continual student debt. The COVID-19 incident exposed this problem and now as Business Insider reports, colleges are starting to feel the fallout of the economic changes.
The pandemic has exposed the harsh economic reality of the US higher education system, and it could be a breaking point for students and schools after years of mounting financial pressures, not to mention the debate over the benefits of a pricey degree.
Schools need to prove that they can replicate the campus experience virtually in order to survive — and many may not succeed.
Colleges close down. And it happens more frequently than you think.
When the University of Washington said it could lose up to $100 million in revenue because of the coronavirus pandemic, it was like a “stab in the heart” to one faculty member.
The 39-year-old has been juggling teaching at the university with taking care of her young child as daycare is closed. It’s her first time leading classes online, and she’s striving to make it a valuable experience for her students. She’s worried that she and her colleagues could lose their jobs. And she’s exhausted.
“I’ve done a lot of really hard things,” she said, “and I think this is the hardest I’ve ever worked in my entire life.” She requested anonymity because she was not authorized to speak to the media.
The pandemic has put 36 million Americans out of work since February. The ivory tower, like many industries impacted by social distancing, hasn’t been spared.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reported in May that at least 37,181 employees at colleges and universities have been laid off or furloughed, or haven’t had their contract renewed. (That number includes student workers.)
But continued job cuts aren’t even the biggest worry. Hundreds of schools could shutter entirely. (source)
A lot of colleges- especially the small, private ones -do not have enough money to continue running. They will be forced to sell off assets and close their doors. This will be a long-overdue and necessary change. Likewise, another that follows in this same tradition is the move towards online education, as well as a drop in the price of schooling. There is no reason to justify to obscene tuition prices and bloated budgets, and if students cannot get value for their degree, the schools will eventually be forced to close.
Change can be painful, but often times that which is healthy hurts at first and then feels a lot better after. The pain should have been felt years ago but was not allowed to, and at least now it is being somewhat dealt with.