Covid-19 Impacts on Higher Education – Selected Resources Updated       

(Updated July 31, 2020)

This resource guide provides informative and thoughtful articles about the current and future state of higher education as a result of the COVID-19 disruption. Here’s what we’re reading. We will continue to keep it updated with selected material. We trust you will find useful data and insights. (Some of these may require a subscription. If you cannot access them, please contact us for assistance.)


Chronicle of Higher Education (numerous articles – here are key ones to date):

Reopening plans – The Chronicle is tracking more than 1,200 colleges serving primarily undergraduates and not including those that were already 100% online; it includes searchable tracking table to find institutions by name – here is the status of July 31. In the last 10 days, the number of “in-person” institutions has declined noticeably while the “hybrid” model and online have increased.

  • Fully in-person (2.5%), primarily in person (21%) on July 31 versus planning for in-person – 53% (July 20)
  • Hybrid (16%) versus proposing a hybrid model (defined as mix of online, in-person, hybrid or blending learning) – 32% (July 20)
  • Primarily online (24%), fully online (3.8%) on July 31 versus planning for online – 10% (July 20)
  • TBD (27%) versus considering a range of scenarios – 3.5% and waiting to decide – 1.2% (July 20)

Other relevant topics in the Chronicle’s articles:

“The Great Reopening Debate” (Professors, administrators, students and staff on the most consequential question facing the sector, June 18, 2020)

“Working While Parenting is a Covid-19 Reality. One University Tried to Forbid It” –

“What if Colleges Designed Gap Years? This Year, Especially, They Should” (June 24, 2020) –

“How Closely Should Students Be Spaced? At one campus [UNC-Chapel Hill], 3 feet quickly becomes 6” (July 1, 2020)


Other publications on Fall Reopening Plans:

“Why campus de-densification is a complicated set of decisions at the core of university re-opening plans” (Education Advisory Board, July 9, 2020)

“UNC campuses must submit plans for 50% budget cuts as COVID-19 worst case scenario,” The News&Observer (Raleigh, NC), July 18, 2020 –

“Covid-19 and US Higher Education enrollment: Preparing leaders for fall” (McKinsey & Company, May 21, 2020) –

“Colleges Face Rising Revolt by Professors (New York Times, July 3, 2020)” –

“Yale invites students back to campus for fall semester (a detailed list of plans from Yale University leadership)” [private elite institution]

“UNC Chapel Hill website ‘Roadmap for Fall 2020 – Carolina Together’”

“Public land-grant universities Campus Reopening Plans (APLU)” –

“Home by Thanksgiving: An emerging strategy to reopen college campuses in the fall, Washington Post,” May 29, 2020 –

“Masks required and fewer parties (allegedly): What college will look like this fall, Washington Post,” June 11, 2020 –

“Cornell’s epidemiological modeling for bringing students back in the fall” (50 pages)


Fundraising and Institutional Finances

“Colleges Face a No-Win Dilemma: To Cut or Not Cut Tuition?” Chronicle of Higher ed, July 13, 2020 –

“Survey Warns of ‘Dramatic Decline’ in Fundraising,” Inside Higher Ed, June 8, 2020 [EAB study] –

“Forcing Radical Change. How COVID-19 Could Reshape Higher Ed Philanthropy,” Inside Philanthropy, May 4 –

“Colleges Lower the Boom on Retirement Plans,” Inside Higher Ed, May 21, 2020 –

“A Transformative Moment for Philanthropy,” McKinsey, May 21, 2020 (general, not higher ed specific) –


Long-Term: 2021 and Beyond

“Developing the Future Workforce: Revitalizing Postsecondary Education and Training after COVID-19, The Public Policy Center of The Conference Board –

“Can Higher Ed Survive the Pandemic?” By Dan Baer, Democracy Journal, June 2, 2020 –

“Presidents’ Growing Worry? Perceived Value of College, Inside Higher Education survey,” June 29, 2020 –

“Covid-19 Impact on higher education: confronting financial challenges facing colleges and universities,” Deloitte (cash flow, debt, institutional endowments, scenario planning, conclusion) –

“A Post-Pandemic Strategy for US Higher Ed,” Harvard Business Review, June 2, 2020 –

“Here’s a Look at the Impact of Covid-19 on Colleges and Universities in the US,” Forbes, April 30, 2020

“Rethinking the Pennsylvania State System,” Inside Higher Ed, July 17, 2020

“Will the coronavirus transform or destroy higher education as we know it?” – New book from Georgetown U. expert is filled with great ideas for change, but even with reforms the poor may fall further behind – The Merit Myth (how higher education remains ever more segregated by class and race), Hechinger Report, May 26, 2020 –