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State Support for Public Education Declines

March 23, 2021

In my 2017 study of American higher education, I predicted that 1,000 colleges would close due to high tuition costs that were the result of state authorization, federal student loan regulations and accreditation “standards.”  That study was written from my perspective as an “education entrepreneur” who founded, administered and financed a for-profit solely Internet-based university.

Based in Virginia I was rebuffed by the Virginia State Higher Education Council (SCHEV) and the agency for regional accreditation that oversees that state.

SCHEV had no intention of permitting low cost Online degree programs to compete with the public colleges and universities in the Commonwealth.

I didn’t know what would bring down what I called a “Cartel,” but I knew some one thing added to high tuition costs and fees would impact American colleges and force many to close.

That “one thing” (Covid-19) has revealed its ugly head  and has forced colleges to cease or limit classroom instruction and move courses and programs online. A new report by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) details how State support for public higher education has been impacted by declining State revenue during a pandemic.

A majority of states have reduced financial support but the details of how badly private colleges and universities have fared during this pandemic are largely unknown and complicated by a number of factors:

  1. Retaining high tuition cost while moving courses online;
  2. Poorly developed online courses;
  3. Insecure course delivery systems prone to hacking;
  4. Advantages of lower tuition at public institutions;
  5. Protective communications that limit information.

Institutions with large endowments (Notre Dame’s Endowment is in excess of $13 Billion) will survive, but Notre Dame placed students and instructors at risk by admitting students to live and dine on campus. Other less endowed colleges, especially “Commuter Schools,” face real hardships.

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