Paul L. Caron
Dean



Saturday, July 18, 2020

Which Of The 436 Universities Ranked BY U.S. News Will Thrive, Survive, Struggle, Or Perish In The Age Of COVID-19?

Scott Galloway (NYU), USS University:

Our fumbling, incompetent response to the pandemic continues. In six weeks, a key component of our society is in line to become the next vector of contagion: higher education. Right now half of colleges and universities plan to offer in-person classes, something resembling a normal college experience, this fall. This cannot happen. In-person classes should be minimal, ideally none. ...

There is a dangerous conflation of the discussion about K-12 and university reopenings. The two are starkly different. There are strong reasons to reopen K-12, and there are stronger reasons to keep universities shuttered. University leadership needs to evolve from denial (“It’s business as usual”) past bargaining (“We’ll have a hybrid model with some classes in person”) to citizenship (“We are the warriors against this virus, not its enablers”).

Think about this. Next month, as currently envisioned, 2,800+ cruise ships retrofitted with white boards and a younger cohort will set sail in the midst of a raging pandemic. The density and socialization on these cruise ships could render college towns across America the next virus hot spots.

Why are administrators putting the lives of faculty, staff, students, and our broader populace at risk? ...

Who Thrives, Survives, Struggles, or Perishes?
Over the last month, we assembled a worksheet that looks at the immunities and comorbidities of 436 universities included in US News and World Report’s Top National College Rankings. This dataset compiles numbers from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) maintained by the US Department of Education, US News & World Report, Google Keyword Planner, Niche.com's Student Life Scores, and the Center on Education & the Workforce. This dataset should not be taken as peer-reviewed or final. It’s a working document that seeks to analyze and understand the US college and university landscape and to help universities craft solutions.

We plotted each university across two axes (four quadrants):

  • Value: (Credential * Experience * Education) / Tuition.
  • Vulnerability: (Endowment / Student and % International Students). Low endowment and dependence on full-tuition international students make a university vulnerable to Covid shock, as they may decide to sit this semester/year out. Consumers generally don’t like to pay the rack rate at a hotel whose general manager harasses them and is a bigot. But I digress.

Quadrants:

  • Thrive: The elite schools and those that offer strong value have an opportunity to emerge stronger as they consolidate the market, double down on exclusivity, and/or embrace big and small tech to increase the value via a decrease in cost per student.
  • Survive: Schools that will see demand destruction and lower revenue, but will be fine, as they have the brand equity, credential-to-cost ratio, and/or endowments to weather the storm.
  • Struggle: Tier-2 schools with one or more comorbidities, such as high admit rates (anemic waiting lists), high tuition, or scant endowments.
  • Perish: Sodium pentathol cocktail of high admit rates, high tuition, low endowments, dependence on international students, and weak brand equity.

Pepperdine

The worksheet is here. Our aim is to catalyze a conversation about how universities can adjust their value proposition.

Scott Galloway (NYU), Higher Ed: Enough Already:

US university presidents and chancellors, enough already.

It’s time to end the consensual hallucination between university leadership, parents, and students that in-person classes will resume in the fall. The bold statements from presidents and provosts are symptomatic of the viruses that also plague American leadership and business: exceptionalism that has morphed into arrogance and an idolatry of money that supplants regard for the commonwealth. ...

We are all exhausted from this crisis, and the need for a return to normal is powerful. But we need to check our optimism, and re-embrace our other superpower: empathy. We must ensure that healthy 19-year-olds don’t pass the virus to a more vulnerable population.

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2020/07/which-of-the-436-universities-ranked-by-us-news-will-thrive-survives-struggle-or-perish-in-the-age-of-covid-19.html

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Comments

Could be an opportunity for good schools unafraid of the "value" label to massively scale up their classes and standing - and for excellent foreign professors, teachers and tutors to cut out middlemen (or at least compete down their margins).

Posted by: Anand Desai | Jul 18, 2020 6:46:20 PM

Bye Bye New School and lots of old schools.

Then to read this. Clearly Higher Ed is all about the faculty. Who cares about the students who will overpay for a crappy education. I have a suggestion. Shut it down. Close all universities and take a year off of unpaid leave. That should give you plenty of time to rest up.

"It’s time to end the consensual hallucination between university leadership, parents, and students that in-person classes will resume in the fall. The bold statements from presidents and provosts are symptomatic of the viruses that also plague American leadership and business: exceptionalism that has morphed into arrogance and an idolatry of money that supplants regard for the commonwealth. ...

We are all exhausted from this crisis, and the need for a return to normal is powerful. But we need to check our optimism, and re-embrace our other superpower: empathy. We must ensure that healthy 19-year-olds don’t pass the virus to a more vulnerable population."

Posted by: Dale Spradling | Jul 19, 2020 6:22:47 AM

This is quite interesting. The colleges that will perish will bin i unfortunate ones but honestly are ones that are struggling today. Having been affiliated with Florida Tech this one doesn’t surprise me as they have been treading water for years, poor leadership, no real growth plans and have been cutting back on programs. The real question is why the boards of these universities dont step in and look at alternate plans and/or address their shortcomings

Posted by: Frank Bonner | Jul 25, 2020 10:44:52 AM

This really does need work. Four of the top 5 small liberal arts colleges in Ohio (Oberlin, Kenyon, Denison, and Wooster) are going to perish and the fifth - Wittenberg - is going to struggle? Moreover, while containing SUNY Buffalo State (7,500 students, mediocre graduation rate at best) it omits SUNY University at Buffalo (28,000 students - national research university). Takes published tuition at face value - no accounting for discounts.

Posted by: Jim | Jul 27, 2020 5:55:49 AM

Hm, my college will thrive and my law school will survive ( small miraclce that). Guess I can keep he diplomas on the wall.

Posted by: Tony | Jul 31, 2020 11:09:55 AM