It’s a rough time for colleges — especially traditional liberal arts institutions. Enrollment was declining even before the pandemic. This spring, most colleges sent students home for weeks of digital education. Some — like California State University, the nation’s largest public university system — have already announced an online-only fall semester.
But it’s an even rougher time for students. Many have complained that the online experience doesn’t warrant the same amount of tuition. Some have asked colleges for spring semester refunds. Others have sued. Understandably, a growing number of high school seniors are rethinking next year’s plans. Some are opting for more affordable schools. Interest in gap years has spiked. And 1 in 6 students who planned pre-pandemic to be full-time students at four-year colleges this fall say they no longer plan to do so — even though many had already put down a deposit.
Tuesday on MPR News with Kerri Miller, we aired the second of two shows about college in the time of COVID-19. Previously, we talked about how colleges are strategizing new ways of education and community experience. For this show, we focused on the students. Is this the moment for students to reconsider how much they spend on a college education?
Michelle Asha Cooper, president of the Institute for Higher Education Policy
Caroline Hoxby, economist at Stanford University and director of the Economics of Education Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research
To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.