Pennsylvania’s 14 public universities are projected to lose $70-100 million this spring semester, mainly because of room and board refunds to students following the shutdown of campuses due to the coronavirus pandemic, reported The Philadelphia Inquirer.
In addition, with the state projecting a budget shortfall of up to $4 billion, Republicans in the state legislature also say that the university system may see mergers and even closures looking ahead.
Even before the onset of the coronavirus, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education was in financial trouble as enrollments declined by 20% in the last decade.
Chancellor Daniel Greenstein said in an interview that college closures were a bad idea before the pandemic and are a worse idea in the current situation. That’s because, he said, the state’s public universities not only prepare new workers to join the labor force, they are a top employer as well.