Some already under financial pressure may be forced to close.
The numbers are staggering. The University of Michigan anticipates losses of $400 million to $1 billion this year across its three campuses. California’s university system suffered $558 million in unanticipated costs in March alone. By itself, the Boulder campus of the University of Colorado will lose at least $67 million through the summer.
Numbers for smaller schools may not be as eye-popping but the impact in many cases is greater. MacMurray College, a 174-year-old institution in Illinois, has announced it will close, in part because the pandemic complicated its effort to raise needed funds. Vermont may shutter three of its state college campuses in the wake of the crisis.
Robert Zemsky, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, is the co-author of a new book, “The College Stress Test,” which estimates that 10 percent of the nation’s colleges – smaller schools with poor retention rates – were already at risk of closing. Now, he tells ABC News, “we think another 10 percent is at risk because of the virus.”
The American Council on Education identified the “long term financial viability” of their schools as “the most pressing issue” for a majority of college and university presidents it recently surveyed.