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.
Some institutions are projecting$100 million losses for the spring,and many are now bracing for an even bigger financial hit in the fall,when some are planning for the possibility of having to continue remote classes.
Administrators anticipate that students grappling with the financial and psychological impacts of the virus could choose to stay closer to home,go to less expensive schools,take a year off or not go to college at all.A higher education trade group has predicted a 15 percent drop in enrollment nationwide,amounting to a$23 billion revenue loss.
“The combination of fear for health and safety and the economic impact at the same time is one that I haven’t experienced,and I don’t think most university leaders have,”said Kent D.Syverud,the chancellor of Syracuse University.
雪城大學(Syracuse University)校長肯特·塞弗魯德(Kent D.Syverud)說：“要同時擔心健康安全和經濟影響，是我從未有過的經歷，而且我認為大多數大學的領導人也沒有。”
“Will families choose to send their kids to college?”he wondered.“Will they choose to not send them or delay them?I just haven’t found anybody who has the best crystal ball to answer it.”
The coronavirus forced campuses to shut down at a time when higher education,which employs nearly four million people across the country,was already facing major challenges.Population declines are expected to reduce enrollment,even as skyrocketing tuition and student debt have led to questions about whether a college education is worth the cost.
In mid-March,Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the outlook for higher education from stable to negative,predicting that institutions with strong endowments and cash flow,like Harvard or Stanford,would weather the virus,while smaller ones would not.
3月中旬，穆迪投資者服務公司(Moody’s Investors Service)將高等教育前景的評級從穩定下調為負面，并預測像哈佛大學或斯坦福大學這樣擁有雄厚捐贈和現金流的學校將扛住病毒帶來的損失，而規模較小的學校則不妙。
But even wealthy universities have begun announcing austerity measures.Robert Zimmer,president of the University of Chicago,said in an April 7 email to staff that to buffer its losses,the university would freeze salaries,slow academic hiring,suspend discretionary spending and look for other budget cuts.The University of Pennsylvania announced similar measures,including a hiring freeze and a pause in new capital projects,on Monday.
但即使是富裕的大學也開始宣布緊縮措施。芝加哥大學(University of Chicago)校長羅伯特·齊默(Robert Zimmer)在4月7日給員工的電子郵件中表示，為緩沖損失，該大學將凍結薪酬，減緩學術招聘，中止可自由支配的支出，并尋求其他預算削減。賓夕法尼亞大學(University of Pennsylvania)周一也宣布了類似的措施，包括凍結招聘和暫停新的資本項目。<紐約時報中英文網 http://www.244129.buzz/>
“I think it’s a greater systemic shock”than either the financial crisis of 2008 or the terrorist attacks of 2001,said Susan Fitzgerald,a Moody’s analyst.“We don’t know how long it’s going to go on or the multiple impacts.”
Colby College,a liberal arts school in Maine,has taken a typical blow.Its endowment,a rainy-day fund that can also serve as a proxy for a college’s financial health,dropped to$770 million earlier this month from$900 million at the end of last year.(It has since partially rebounded to$803 million.)And like many colleges,Colby has had to refund room and board for students asked to leave campus.
It has been able to balance its budget through a hiring freeze and savings on travel and events.But,said David Greene,Colby’s president,“in the long run,that is not a winning strategy.”
Like other administrators,Mr.Greene is hoping to reopen with classes on campus,rather than online,even if it means deferring the start of the fall semester.“Our whole model of education and all of its power comes from close human interaction,”he said.
But he can only delay so long.“If we had to start in October instead of September,that is not a real problem for us,”he said.“If we had to start in November instead of September,that’s probably not a real problem.What if we started in January and went through August?That would be a very different kind of problem.”
Although Congress provided$14 billion for higher education in the$2 trillion rescue bill signed by President Trump last month,a large chunk of that,$6 billion,was in the form of emergency cash grants for students in financial distress.
The rest of the bailout amounts to just 1 percent of total university expenses.College presidents say that won’t be enough to protect some institutions from slashing staff and programs,cutting back scholarships or perhaps even going under.They are asking for at least$46.6 billion in aid,to be divided equally between institutions and students,in the next stimulus package.
There are some 4,000 two-year and four-year public and private colleges and universities in the United States,educating roughly 20 million students.They generated about$650 billion in revenues in 2016-17,and in some states,like California,Iowa and Maryland,they are the largest employers,according to the American Council on Education,a trade group.
美國有大約4000所二年制和四年制的公立及私立大專院校，為大約2000萬名在校學生提供教育。根據行業組織美國教育理事會(American Council on Education)的數據，2016年至2017年，它們創造了約6500億美元的收入，在加利福尼亞、艾奧瓦和馬里蘭等州，它們是最大的雇主。
The council predicted in an April 9 letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that college enrollment for the next academic year would drop by 15 percent,including 25 percent for international students from countries like China who often pay full tuition,helping universities meet their budgets and afford financial aid for Americans.
理事會在4月9日致信眾議院議長南希·佩洛西(Nancy Pelosi)，預言大學下學年招生將下降15%，其中來自中國等國家的國際學生將占到25%，他們通常支付全額學費，幫助大學平衡預算，并向美國學生提供金融援助。<紐約時報中英文網 http://www.244129.buzz/>
“The pandemic is striking during the height of the admissions process,”the letter said.“College and university leaders are fully expecting significant,potentially unparalleled,declines in enrollment,both from students who do not come back,and those who will never start.”
The spring is prime testing season for juniors applying to college in the fall.But dates for the SAT and ACT have been canceled,and Advanced Placement subject tests have been truncated.
In light of the turmoil caused by the pandemic,a growing number of schools,from the small but elite Williams College in Williamstown,Mass.,to the massive University of California system,are suspending the requirement that students take the SAT or ACT test for admission,accelerating a national trend of making the tests optional.
鑒于疫情造成的混亂局面，從馬薩諸塞州威廉斯敦規模較小的精英學校威廉姆斯學院(Williams College)到規模龐大的加州大學(University of California)，越來越多的學校暫緩了對學生參加SAT或ACT考試的入學要求，加速了讓這些考試成為非必須選項的全國性趨勢。
David Coleman,the president of the College Board,which administers the SAT,said last week that he was preparing for“an at-home style solution”for testing if the national shutdowns continue,and the organization plans to make an announcement on Wednesday about the future of the SAT.
SAT考試主管機構大專院校委員會(College Board)會長戴威·科爾曼(David Coleman)上周表示，他正在為該考試準備一個“在家完成的解決方案”，以備全國范圍內的學校繼續停課，該機構計劃在周三宣布SAT考試的未來。
Many current students are dissatisfied with how the virus has changed the nature of college.To some,online classes and closed student centers,gyms and science labs don’t seem worth the high prices they’re paying.At places like the University of Chicago and Iowa State,students are petitioning their schools to cut tuition by as much as 50 percent for as long as the pandemic lasts.
很多在校學生對這種病毒改變了大學的性質感到不滿。一些人認為，學生中心、健身房和科學實驗室都被封閉，只提供在線課程，這些似乎不值得他們為此付出高昂學費。在芝加哥大學(University of Chicago)和艾奧瓦州立大學(Iowa State)等校，學生們向學校請愿，要求在疫情持續期間，將學費削減至多50%。
So far,universities have resisted,saying they will try to increase financial aid instead—although declining endowments and donations could make that difficult.The University of Chicago announced Monday that it would keep tuition,housing and fees flat.
大學目前仍是拒絕的，并表示將設法增加財政援助，然而捐贈基金和捐款的減少可能會使其非常困難。芝加哥大學(University of Chicago)周一宣布，學費、住宿和其他費用將保持不變。
For most universities,the question of how prospective students will react remains the great unknown.Already,many colleges have moved the deadline for students to accept admission from May 1 to June 1.And some schools are considering whether they will need to push that even further.
Orientation day,said Richard Ekman,president of the Council of Independent Colleges,“is probably the first time you’re going to know who’s really going to show up.Then you’ve got to scramble to add faculty or fire faculty or shift faculty.A lot of things that would have been done in a considered way will now in all likelihood be done at the last minute.”
獨立學院理事會(Council of Independent Colleges)主席理查德·?？寺?Richard Ekman)說，可能直到迎新日“你才能知道實際有哪些人會來。然后你就得趕緊增加教員，解雇教員，或者換掉教員。以前很多經過深思熟慮后才做出的決定，現在很可能都要在最后一刻才能做出。”
One group of students that could see a silver lining,said Hafeez Lakhani,a college admissions coach,is high school juniors.Despite disruptions to testing and the admissions process,it could be easier for them to get into their stretch schools or off the wait list if overall enrollment declines—especially for those who can afford to pay full tuition,if fewer international students apply to U.S.schools.
Small institutions like Hampshire College in Amherst,Mass.,are more vulnerable to financial setbacks than big ones.Hampshire’s president,Ed Wingenbach,has put together a working group that is considering shorter units of study that would allow students to cycle in and out of remote learning if the virus comes and goes.
和大型學校相比，馬薩諸塞州阿默斯特的漢普郡學院(Hampshire College)這樣的小學校更容易受到財政困難的沖擊。漢普郡學院的校長艾德·溫格巴奇(Ed Wingenbach)成立了一個工作組，考慮縮短學習單元，在起起落落的疫情中方便學生們完成遠程學習的切換。
“If we’re looking at remote learning in the fall,”he said,“I think it’s more likely students will take a gap year or semester,and that will have a different impact on revenue.”
Ms.McCarville,the student in Phoenix,said the coronavirus had made her more sensitive to price over marquee names,and to the value of being close to her family.Although her dream schools,Skidmore in Saratoga Springs,N.Y.,and Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles,offered her scholarships,tuition at Arizona State was cheaper,and the overall package was better.
In the past,that might not have mattered to her.But after the coronavirus,it does.
“I would rather go to the least expensive school possible,”Ms.McCarville said,“just so I minimize my debt when I enter the work force,and I’m not in over my head in a very uncertain situation.”