(HigherEducating.com) – The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on almost every aspect of business. One of the industries that has undergone some of the biggest shifts in the last few months is higher education — but what are the long-term ramifications of these shifts? Are public and private universities in danger?
The current economic crisis is undoubtedly changing the industry, but the full picture is a bit more complicated. Here are some of the factors that may be putting higher education at risk.
A Push for More Online Learning
Many colleges have spent time implementing online learning solutions as technology advancements increase. While some of these schools have the resources to make their classes fully or partially remote to support social distancing, Best Colleges warns that many of them are losing housing and tuition money as well. With schools unprepared to face these drastic changes, they’re scrambling to compensate for the latest financial losses.
Rising Tuition Prices
The pandemic isn’t the only reason for the higher education industry issues. Over the last decade, tuition prices have been increasing. As a result, families are often forced to take out more student loans to afford the expenses.
According to CNBC, one major reason for the incline in costs is the decline of state funding for colleges. With more pressure on schools to adjust their prices and students having to cover more of the costs, losses are putting more strain on the industry every year.
Decreasing Enrollment Rates
At first glance, overall college enrollment seems to have increased over the last few decades, but statistics indicate undergraduate enrollment rates have decreased by about 4.4% this year alone. That’s a huge difference that college officials need to make up for. It’s also worth noting that dozens of colleges, especially private universities, have closed over the last decade due to the lack of proper funds, which is another major indicator of the challenges that the industry is facing.
What Comes Next?
Enrollment and pricing concerns paired with the stress caused by the pandemic are putting some strain on the higher education industry, but that doesn’t necessarily mean colleges are at risk of going away for good. Statistics indicate that post-secondary graduates are likely to make more money than those who only attended high school. Higher education provides a unique learning experience that students, especially those just out of high school, might not receive otherwise.
By embracing more modern forms of learning and using their resources wisely, many colleges may be able to adapt to changes in the industry and survive the current economic challenges. COVID-19 is speeding up a transition that’s been in the works for years, and it’s up to public and private universities to find solutions that will allow them to not only survive, but also thrive as the evolution takes place.
Viewing the numbers and the challenges colleges are facing today gives us a good look at the industry and how it’s currently responding to the economic crisis. The market will likely make it through the storm — but it could still be a long road to recovery, even for the most resilient institutions.
~Here’s to Your Success!
Copyright 2020, HigherEducating.com