Gold Supporting Member
- Sep 25, 2011
- Reaction score
- Fredericksburg, VA
I feel bad for most of these people, as humanity departments are very important, but not this Critical Race bullshit that attacks America.
Liberal arts departments, graduate student aid and even tenured teaching positions are targets as the coronavirus causes shortfalls.
Ohio Wesleyan University is eliminating 18 majors. The University of Florida’s trustees this month took the first steps toward letting the school furlough faculty. The University of California, Berkeley, has paused admissions to its Ph.D. programs in anthropology, sociology and art history.
As it resurges across the country, the coronavirus is forcing universities large and small to make deep and possibly lasting cuts to close widening budget shortfalls. By one estimate, the pandemic has cost colleges at least $120 billion, with even Harvard University, despite its $41.9 billion endowment, reporting a $10 million deficit that has prompted belt tightening.
Though many colleges imposed stopgap measures such as hiring freezes and early retirements to save money in the spring, the persistence of the economic downturn is taking a devastating financial toll, pushing many to lay off or furlough employees, delay graduate admissions and even cut or consolidate core programs like liberal arts departments.
The University of South Florida announced this month that its college of education would become a graduate school only, phasing out undergraduate education degrees to help close a $6.8 million budget gap. In Ohio, the University of Akron, citing the coronavirus, successfully invoked a clause in its collective-bargaining agreement in September to supersede tenure rules and lay off 97 unionized faculty members.
“We haven’t seen a budget crisis like this in a generation,” said Robert Kelchen, a Seton Hall University associate professor of higher education who has been tracking the administrative response to the pandemic. “There’s nothing off-limits at this point.”
State governments from Washington to Connecticut, tightening their own belts, have told public universities to expect steep cuts in appropriations. Students and families, facing skyrocketing unemployment, have balked at the prospect of paying full fare for largely online instruction, opting instead for gap years or less expensive schools closer to home.
Costs have also soared as colleges have spent millions on testing, tracing and quarantining students, only to face outbreaks. A New York Times database has confirmed more than 214,000 cases this year at college campuses, with at least 75 deaths, mostly among adults last spring, but also including some students more recently.
Freshman enrollment is down more than 16 percent from last year, the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center has reported — part of a 4 percent overall drop in undergraduate enrollment that is taking tuition revenue down with it.
In a letter to Congress last week, the American Council on Education and other higher education organizations estimated that the virus would cost institutions more than $120 billion in increased student aid, lost housing fees, forgone sports revenue, public health measures, learning technology and other adjustments.
And because donations to all but the heftiest endowments limit those funds to specific uses, most colleges cannot freely dip into them as emergency reserves. Harvard has the largest endowment in the nation, but its pandemic losses turned a $300 million-plus surplus in 2019 into a $10 million operating loss in 2020, according to an annual report posted last week, forcing the university to freeze hiring, slash capital spending and cut senior managers’ pay.