In March 2020, higher education in the United States took a gut punch from COVID-19.1 Some colleges and universities went out of business; many others, including underfunded public institutions, are the walking wounded. Soon after, higher education began the painful process of reducing staff and non-tenure-track faculty, freezing and cutting salaries, pension contributions, and benefits, and figuring out how to meet its commitments to a range of stakeholders. The pandemic was estimated to have cost higher education $183 billion as of spring 2021, and the tuition income so many schools depend on shrank. While graduate and online enrollment went up (typical for a recession economy), bachelor's degree enrollment sagged 3.3 percent at public institutions and 2 percent at private ones. Cash-strapped community colleges lost almost 10 percent of their students.2

As Elizabeth Tandy Shermer notes in this intelligently argued article, it was a disaster waiting to happen, but...

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