Private Colleges Report Lost Revenue, Increased Expenses This Fall

December 16, 2020

Almost all private, nonprofit institutions responding to a survey reported losses in tuition and fees, room and board, and auxiliary services revenue amid the pandemic this fall, according to information released by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

This fall, 85 percent of institutions reported a loss in tuition and fee revenue, 93 percent reported a loss in room and board revenue, 87 percent lost revenue in auxiliary services, and 90 percent lost revenue from summer programs.

All survey respondents said that federal aid from the CARES Act was not enough to cover COVID-19-related revenue losses and additional expenses. Two-thirds of respondents said the CARES dollars covered less than a quarter of revenue losses and added expenses.

COVID-19 testing was surprisingly expensive, respondents said. Most colleges also reported having additional COVID-19 expenses including face coverings, contact tracing, social distancing, dedicated quarantine space, building modifications, financial assistance to students and technology. Three-quarters of responding institutions said that COVID-19-related expenses exceeded their estimates.

NAICU surveyed its members between Nov. 9 and Dec. 2, gathering 68 responses.

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