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Tyler Cowen

The Crisis on Campus Is Here To Stay

A looming shortage of students will upend the business model of higher education. To survive, colleges need to do more with less. 

Even Harvard isn’t immune. 

Even Harvard isn’t immune. 

Photographer: Adam Glanzman/Bloomberg via Getty Images

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, Bloomberg Opinion will be running a series of features by our columnists that consider the long-term consequences of the crisis. This column is part of a package on transformations in the way in which education is structured and delivered. For more, see Joe Nocera on the future of college sports, Clara Ferreira Marques on the promise of online learning and Michael Petrilli on how high schoolers can benefit from reduced schedules.     

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced American colleges and universities to shut dormitories, cancel sporting events, halt graduation ceremonies and shift lectures and classroom instruction online. This has caused unprecedented disruption to institutions that are averse to change in the best of times. As the economic crisis deepens, higher education will face even more serious problems, which are likely to persist even after the worst of the public health dangers has passed.