The pandemic has already cost universities millions of dollars. As they consider the possibility of remote classes into the fall, they’re worried about losing students, too.
“For years, Claire McCarville dreamed of going to college in New York or Los Angeles, and was thrilled last month to get accepted to selective schools in both places. But earlier this month, she sent a $300 deposit to Arizona State University, a 15-minute drive from her home in Phoenix. “It made more sense,” she said, “in light of the virus.”
Across the country, students like Ms. McCarville are rethinking their choices in a world altered by the pandemic. And universities, concerned about the potential for shrinking enrollment and lost revenue, are making a wave of decisions in response that could profoundly alter the landscape of higher education for years to come.
Lucrative spring sports seasons have been canceled, room and board payments have been refunded, and students at some schools are demanding hefty tuition discounts for what they see as a lost spring term. Other revenue sources like study abroad programs and campus bookstores have dried up, and federal research funding is threatened.
Already, colleges have seen their endowments weakened, and worry that fund-raising efforts will founder even as many families need more financial aid. They also expect to lose international students, especially from Asia, because of travel restrictions and concerns about studying abroad. Foreign students, usually paying full tuition, represent a significant revenue source everywhere, from the Ivy League to community colleges.”
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