As I mentioned in a previous post, the May 1 due date for college acceptance decisions seems to have coincided with several notable predications about the impact of the pandemic on changes in higher ed. Earlier this week, I commented on the Adam Weinberg opinion piece in Higher Ed Dive as well as the Brandon Busteed article in Forbes. Concomitant with the other pieces, Professor Scott Galloway’s weekly blog post, “Higher Ed 2.0 (What We Got Right/Wrong),” reviewed his prediction from last year that the pandemic would change higher ed forever in a number of ways.
When I saw the headline for The Hechinger Report article, "Analysis: hundreds of colleges and universities show financial warning signs," I thought, “just what we need…another rating system.” To my surprise, authors Sarah Butrymowicz and Pete D’Amato did not develop a new early warning system evaluating the financial stability of colleges and universities. Instead, they utilized the methodology developed by Robert Zemsky, Susan Shaman, and Susan Campbell Baldridge and published in their recent book, The College Stress Test.
In my previous post, I wrote that I needed some time to consider the construct of Professor Galloway’s risk/rating system. While there are multiple datapoints and calculations, there are two key calculations, the Value to Cost Ratio and the Vulnerability Score, that comprise the X axis and Y axis of his ranking system.
There is no shortage of people who are forecasting the demise of some colleges and universities over the next few years. For example, in a blog article I wrote earlier this year, I reviewed The College Stress Test, a book written by Bob Zemsky, Susan Shaman, and Susan Campbell Baldridge. Based on their pre-COVID-19 analysis of institutional enrollment and financial data submitted to the Department of Education’s Integrated Post-Secondary Education Data System (IPEDS), they predicted that 10 percent of all colleges and universities are in danger of closing over the next few years.
When the first college campuses in the state of Washington closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I thought the actions to be reasonable and short term because of the proximity to Seattle, the early coronavirus hotspot in the U.S. As more college campuses closed for the remainder of the spring semester and athletic teams’ seasons were cancelled, I thought the actions to be reasonable. Those measures were designed to keep a socially active age group from spreading the coronavirus on campus and in their college towns and cities.