We had planned to write this week about what’s ahead for higher ed in 2021. But amid our national turbulence, that seems quite beside the point.
So we’ll just quickly flag a few things we’re thinking about, give you some Open Campus updates, and then hope we can get back to something approximating normalcy next week.
Democrats in Control in Washington
With their double victories in Georgia this week, Democrats will control the Senate and that could mean more federal aid to colleges, as well as state governments. The slim Democratic advantage in a 50-50 Senate may make big legislation (e.g., a free college proposal) tough to pass. But Democrats will be able to use reconciliation on spending bills (e.g., more coronavirus aid) to avoid the filibuster. (More from Higher Ed Dive.
Democrats taking control of Congress “will change everything, but it will guarantee nothing,” a higher-ed lobbyist told The Chronicle.
Another Pandemic-disrupted Semester
2021 may eventually mark the end of the pandemic — but we’re still a ways from that. In the meantime, numerous colleges are shuffling their calendars again. Some are delaying the start of the semester. Others are starting entirely online but planning to get back to in-person instruction in February. As we’ve seen, plans in the pandemic have a way of constantly changing. (More from Inside Higher Ed.
State Financial Reckoning
Across the country, public universities are bracing for deeper cuts as states figure out just how bad the next budget year will be. (A few examples from Minnesota
, North Dakota
, and Hawaii
“We know that the fiscal impacts will not be temporary,” a University of Hawaii regent told legislators in December. “The fiscal impacts we predict will go on for years and will get worse in the next two or three years.”