American higher education caught in perfect economic storm

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit America’s colleges and universities like a category 5 hurricane. After a very tough spring and summer, campuses are doing their best to open. 

Those that cannot have gone virtual, which has generated demands for refunds of housing, meal plan fees, tuition and other fees. These refunds in combination with COVID-19 related compliance and safety-related expenses and major investments in technology and training to go virtual have just added to the pain. The losses that schools incurred from the spring shutdowns were only partially offset from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and additional funding from the federal government is questionable.

The refunds and additional expenses are being compounded with the loss of revenue from international students and students taking a gap year.  Future revenue is likely to be impacted due to projected demographics showing domestic college-bound students down or flat

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A shortage of teachers and Covid-19 create a perfect storm for the education system



a small child sitting on a desk: Teacher Elizabeth DeSantis, wearing a face shield, instructs first graders during a reading class at Stark Elementary School on September 16, 2020 in Stamford, Connecticut.


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Teacher Elizabeth DeSantis, wearing a face shield, instructs first graders during a reading class at Stark Elementary School on September 16, 2020 in Stamford, Connecticut.

  • Finding education workers is even more challenging during the pandemic.
  • Fear of contracting the virus is driving many teachers to retire early.
  • The Economic Policy Institute reports that as of September, public K-12 education employment is more than half a million jobs below its year-ago levels.

The debate over how and where to educate students, from preschool to university, has been among the fiercest fought throughout the pandemic. Nearly every solution presents challenges for parents, students and teachers alike.

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The Covid-19 crisis and an ongoing nationwide shortage of qualified teachers have created a perfect storm in the education system that may only worsen in the months to come.

Educators such as Cynthia Robles are feeling it firsthand.

Robles is

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