$183 billion in losses for higher ed

Inside Higher Ed reports the economic toll from the coronavirus pandemic is expected to top $180 billion.

Institutions are working to minimize budget shortfalls through hiring freezes, layoffs, operating budget cuts and delayed capital projects, Friga said in a press release. The release describes the pandemic as having the potential to cause the “most devastating loss for higher education ever.”

Federal assistance from the Biden administration could soften the blow but still leave a potential shortfall estimated at $146 billion.

Critics will use these figures to make their (often empty) argument that America’s colleges and universities need to make massive and permanent cuts. Those on the left often want administrative positions and athletics teams chopped, while those on the right are often interested in across the board cuts while advocating that higher education be run more like a business.

Would either philosophy save money? Sure. But such arguments often mistake “cutting something” for strategic decision making. Smart — and, yes difficult — choices must be made. Cutting for the sake of cutting isn’t smart.

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