NAICU Washington Update

NAICU Survey Shows Impact of COVID-19 on Campuses

December 10, 2020

A recent survey conducted by NAICU shows the significant impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on college and university campuses across the country.  The results of the survey, which sought information from a limited array of member institutions to gain a more precise understanding of the financial magnitude and impact of the crisis on our college campuses, also demonstrate the need for additional federal relief for students and institutions. 

According to the survey, almost all institutions reported losses in tuition/fees, room/board, and auxiliary services revenue this fall, regardless of the size or type of institution.  The survey also shows that, while the funding provided by the CARES Act helped, 100% of respondents report that the amount they received was not enough to cover combined revenue losses and additional expenses related to COVID.  In fact, two-thirds of institutions report that CARES funding covered less than 25% of combined revenue losses and additional expenses.

“The lost revenue and additional expenses we incurred are not sustainable. Additional federal support will help replenish the resources we need to return to normal operations once the pandemic is over,” said one respondent in an open-ended response.

By far, more than any other cost, institutions were surprised by the expense of testing students, and, in particular, the required frequency. The largest expenses incurred by institutions were related to technology and related training, student financial assistance, and regular testing.  

“The incremental costs associated with delivering classes, i.e., technology and related training in particular, present an additional strain on our cash balances. The incremental cleaning costs have also had a significant impact on our financials and cash,” said another president.

Additional measures institutions have had to take include selling assets, furloughing staff, and limiting degree offerings to manage the impact of the pandemic. Many are also concerned about support services, especially for their low-income and/or housing-insecure students.

The survey was conducted from Nov. 9-Dec. 2, and includes 68 responses. 

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