Colleges Slash Budgets in the Pandemic,With 'Nothing Off-Limits' 大學連爆財務危機 哈佛也難逃
Ohio Wesleyan University is eliminating 18 majors. The University of Florida's trustees last month took the first steps toward letting the school furlough faculty. The University of California, Berkeley, has paused admissions to its doctoral programs in anthropology, sociology and art history.
As it resurges across the country, the coronavirus is forcing universities large and small to make deep and possibly lasting cuts to close widening budget shortfalls. By one estimate, the pandemic has cost colleges at least $120 billion, with even Harvard University, despite its $41.9 billion endowment, reporting a $10 million deficit that has prompted belt tightening.
The persistence of the economic downturn is taking a devastating financial toll, pushing many to lay off or furlough employees, delay graduate admissions and even cut or consolidate core programs like liberal arts departments.
The University of South Florida announced last month that its College of Education would become a graduate school only, phasing out undergraduate education degrees to help close a $6.8 million budget gap. In Ohio, the University of Akron, citing the coronavirus, successfully invoked a clause in its collective-bargaining agreement in September to supersede tenure rules and lay off 97 unionized faculty members.
"We haven't seen a budget crisis like this in a generation," said Robert Kelchen, a Seton Hall University associate professor of higher education who has been tracking the administrative response to the pandemic. "There's nothing off-limits at this point."
Even before the pandemic, colleges and universities were grappling with a growing financial crisis, brought on by years of shrinking state support, declining enrollment, and student concerns with skyrocketing tuition and burdensome debt. Now the coronavirus has amplified the financial trouble systemwide, though elite, well-endowed colleges seem sure to weather it with far less pain.
"We have been in aggressive recession management for 12 years — probably more than 12 years," Daniel Greenstein, chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, told his board of governors as they voted to forge ahead with a proposal to merge a half-dozen small schools into two academic entities.
Young and Jobless in Europe:'It's Been Desperate' 封鎖線制措施釀青年失業潮 歐洲扛不住
文/Liz Alderman and Geneva Abdu
Young and Jobless in Europe:'It's Been Desperate'
Like millions of young people across Europe, Rebecca Lee, 25, has suddenly found herself shut out of the labor market as the economic toll of the pandemic intensifies.Her job as a personal assistant at a London architecture firm was eliminated in September.
Lee, who has a degree in illustration from the University of Westminster, sent out nearly 100 job applications. After scores of rejections, she finally landed a two-month contract at a family-aid charity that pays 10 pounds (about $13) an hour.
"At the moment I will take anything I can get," Lee said. "It's been desperate."
The coronavirus pandemic is rapidly fueling a new youth unemployment crisis in Europe. Young people are being disproportionately hit, economically and socially, by lockdown restrictions, forcing many to make painful adjustments and leaving policymakers grasping for solutions.
Years of job growth has eroded in a matter of months, leaving more than twice as many young people than other adults out of work. The jobless rate for people 25 and under jumped from 14.7% in January to 17.6% in August, its highest level since 2017.
Europe is not the only place where younger workers face a jobs crunch. Young Americans are especially vulnerable to the downturn. But in Europe, the pandemic's economic impact puts an entire generation at risk, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Young people are overrepresented in sectors where jobs are disappearing, including travel, retail and hospitality. Graduates are facing unprecedented competition for even entry-level positions from a tsunami of newly laid-off workers.
The scarring effects may linger. "If you're unemployed earlier on in your career, you're more likely to experience joblessness in the future," said Neal Kilbane, a senior economist at Oxford Economics.
Europeans coming of age in the pandemic are lowering their expectations of the jobs and careers they can get. Many are resorting to internships, living with parents or returning to school to ride out the storm. Young workers without higher education risk sliding even further.