College Presidents Expect Layoffs, Admissions Trouble

April 7, 2020

A survey of 285 college presidents found that most are planning employee layoffs in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

ABC Insights conducted the survey with help from the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the rpk Group. It received responses from presidents across all institution types and sizes.

About 75 percent of presidents said they are preparing to "hunker down" as the coronavirus spreads. Seventy-two percent said they plan to lay off staff, with many expecting to cut administrative costs.

These plans were fairly consistent among institutions. Two-year college presidents were more likely to say they plan to hunker down, and those at small universities were more likely to say they plan to lay people off.

Most respondents -- 64 percent -- said they anticipate moderate scenarios stemming from this crisis. About 70 percent of presidents expect to see revenue decline by at least 10 percent, with presidents of small institutions expecting a larger hit. Financial issues and enrollment declines are the main sources of worry, according to the survey.


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