COVID-19 Is Accelerating the Destruction of the Old University Models

The USA has almost 19 million college students. There are about 1.5 million faculty in degree-granting postsecondary institutions. Most US colleges are re-opening because they would go bankrupt if they did not have classes and students are not willing to pay up to $60,000 per year for video classes.

This article will review the following:
* COVID-19 potential deaths due to re-opening universities
* Financial risks by sticking with online classes and bankruptcies
* Online education and excessive tuition already put 50% of US Universities at risk of bankruptcy and now COVID-19 will accelerate shifting to online and popping the tuition financial bubble
* Taiwan’s College Campus safety protocols
* Predictions and Suggestions about the future of education

In Nature, researchers analyzed data from the United Kingdom’s National Health Service on 17,278,392 adults who were tracked for three months. The COVID-19 mortality risk for those aged 18-39 is 0.06% in the UK.

There is also up to twice the risk for those who are extremely overweight. This would mean that the risk of death from COVID-19 is higher for Americans as Americans has a higher percentage of people who are overweight than the British.

For simplicity let us assume that the COVID-19 mortality risk for those aged 18-39 (college age) is 0.1% in the Us.

If an additional 30% of US University students contracted COVID-19 by attending in-person classes then this would be 6000 deaths.

COVID-19 risks increase with age. Older professors and staff at Universities would be at far higher risk for death from COVID-19 if they were to go in person for their duties. If their collective risk was 1%, then the 1.5 million faculty would see 4,500 deaths if there were 30% of them that got COVID-19.

In July, 117 students at University of Washington fraternities had tested positive for COVID-19 since late June. 15 of 144 Frat houses had an outbreak. There are a total of 3500 students in the University of Washington fraternities.

Over 33% of US Universities and Colleges Already Had Weak Finances

More than a third of the 937 private universities examined by Edmit are in low financial health. They were likely to run out of money within six years. This doubled from two years ago. If those financially weak US universities or even financially stronger universities did not get their full fall tuitions then finances would rapidly worsen. In May, MacMurray College in Illinois closed after 174 years.

Many first-year US Students are deferring the start of University. There is massive drop in international students.

There was already a move to online education and video conferencing classes have not justifying the sky-high tuition.

Some UK Universities are Facing Bankruptcy due to the Pandemic

The Institute of Fiscal studies reported that thirteen UK universities are at risk of going bankrupt as the coronavirus pandemic hits their finances.

Long-run losses could come in anywhere between £3 billion (7%) and £19 billion (50%) of the sector’s overall income in one year. The central estimate of total long-run losses is £11 billion or more than a quarter of income in one year.

The biggest losses will likely stem from falls in international student enrollments (between £1.4 billion and £4.3 billion, with a central estimate of £2.8 billion) and increases in the deficits of university-sponsored pension schemes, which universities will eventually need to cover (up to £7.6 billion, with a central estimate of £3.8 billion)

Infection with COVID-19 can have debilitating long-term consequences, including lung disease, heart problems, brain damage, and mental health problems. There could be other unknown longterm COVID-19 effects.

Taiwan’s College Campus COVID-19 Safety Protocols

Taiwan’s Ministry of Education has national strategy for college campuses. The strategy included an initial quarantine, frequent testing of all students, sanitation, masks, distancing, reduction of student density, cleaning of dorms twice daily with bleach, and allowing only one student per dining table. It also included mandatory quarantine for anyone exposed, and infection-number thresholds at which an entire university would shut down. Taiwan has had only 480 cases in a country with a population of 24 million. Taiwan whole country only has 4 times more COVID-19 than 3500 students in University of Washington Fraternities.

Higher Education Predictions and Suggestions

COVID-19 is forcing a re-examination of how education should be delivered and it has brought forward the looming tuition crisis and the multiple financial problems.

Large COVID-19 outbreaks will occur at re-opened Universities. There will be forced closings and shifts back to online and video classes in many places.

Scott Galloway talks about massively increasing the capacity at US universities. Half of the classes would be fine being online. Using the extra capacity to double the number of accepted students.

US Universities will need to adjust hygiene to adjust to the pandemic, increase capacity, lower costs for students, update with online education to lower costs and to use classroom teaching where it adds value.

SOURCES – Institute of Fiscal Studies, Time, Forbes, Washington Post, Advisory, Top universities, Yang Speaks
Written by Brian Wang,