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Describing 2020 as a rough year for higher ed would be a huge understatement. It might even be insulting to all the people who were deep in the trenches of the enterprise of teaching and learning last year, and that includes college students, the faculty and staff members that serve them, and the administrators tasked with running the institutions. Let's not mince words and just call 2020 what it was -- a year from hell.

The pandemic upended academic calendars and semester planning. It stretched and broke budgets and led to widespread job cuts. It ruined the traditional college experience for millions of students. It made faculty members' jobs infinitely harder. There was also death amid all the dismay and continuing conflicts over free speech and racial inequity magnified by the police killing of George Floyd.

But the show went on, teaching and learning happened, and colleges and universities across the country rose to the challenge and survived. Inside Higher Ed had a front-row seat to much of it, and we chronicled news developments in real time. Today we're looking back at the unprecedented year that was while also offering our unscientific predictions for the year ahead. Happy 2021.

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