Furloughs, layoffs and pay cuts pile up as colleges buckle under the pandemic’s financial stress.
In February, shortly after the first coronavirus case was confirmed in the United States, Barbara Mistick didn’t think the pandemic would have such a staggering impact on colleges.
“I was still traveling,” said Mistick, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. “The conversation started in February with study abroad. I don’t think any of us saw the study abroad conversation leading to this total shutdown and impact on every single revenue source.”
Unforeseen expenses cropped up almost immediately. In early March, many colleges paid to bring students back from study abroad programs and lost money on prepaid tickets and hotel stays.
Since, the costs have only continued piling up. Canceled events, student move-outs, room and board refunds, scaled-up cleaning procedures, and online teaching have all brought unanticipated expenses.