When the California State University system decided to conduct all of its classes online this coming fall, administrators said it was to avoid the health risks associated with COVID-19. Many other colleges are making similar decisions as they move online.

加州州立大学决定今年秋季在网上开设所有课程,校方表示,这是为了避免COVID-19带来的健康风险。许多其他大学也在做类似的决定。

Wayne State University and Michigan State University are likely to go online – but may offer a hybrid of online and in-person classes. USC will offer nearly every course in an online version. The University of Pennsylvania is offering four scenarios, three of which are mainly online. Six of Harvard’s 12 schools, including its School of Law, will be online in the fall.

韦恩州立大学和密歇根州立大学很可能会选择网上授课,但可能是在线授课和面对面授课相结合。南加州大学将几乎全部是在线课程。宾夕法尼亚大学提供了四种方案,其中三种主要在网上进行。哈佛大学12个学院中的6个,包括法学院,今年秋天将是线上授课。

While an all-online term – or nearly-all-online term – reduces COVID-19 risks to students and staff, it also will likely increase the financial risks to universities. It also can reveal preexisting financial strains, particularly at state colleges that are much more dependent than they used to be on high tuition revenues.

完全在线授课(或几乎完全在线授课)的学期虽然降低了学生和工作人员的新冠肺炎风险,但也可能增加高校的财务风险。它还揭开了之前存在的财政压力,特别是在州立大学,它们比过去更依赖于高额学费收入。


But if these costs force many colleges not to open or to open in a very limited way, it may take years to recover from the financial hit. Some colleges may not recover at all.

但是,如果这些成本迫使许多大学不开放或以一种非常有限的方式开放,它们可能需要数年时间才能从经济打击中恢复过来。一些大学可能根本无法恢复过来。
The cost of opening(大学开放的成本)



“When asked by a trustee in the meeting why that was not feasible for CSU, Chancellor White said that to test half the student body weekly would cost around $25 million per week,” one news outlet reported. “At the moment, financially, testing everyone is not in the cards,” White said at the time.

一家新闻媒体报道称:“在会议上,一名董事问校长,为什么这对加州州立大学来说不可行,校长怀特说,每周检测一半的学生,将花费大约2500万美元。”怀特当时表示:“目前,从财务上来说,对所有人进行检测是不可能的。”

The costs for COVID-19 suppression are not entirely known but are bound to be high. These costs will need to cover personal protective equipment for all staff and students. But that is only the beginning. COVID-19 suppression also means a drastic reduction of campus occupancy, one that may well need to persist throughout 2020-21 and beyond. That is why Purdue plans to “redesign 700 classrooms and labs, and 9,500 dormitory rooms,” among many other measures. Low-tech practices, possibly like sanitizing hundreds of classrooms many times each day, will multiply the costs of custodial staff.

抑制COVID-19病毒传播的成本不完全清楚,但肯定会很高。这些费用包含了所有教职员工和学生的个人防护装备,但这还不是全部。抑制COVID-19病毒传播还意味着校园使用率的大幅下降,这种情况很可能在2020-2021年以及以后持续下去。这就是普渡大学 “重新设计700间教室和实验室,9500间宿舍”的计划以及许多其他措施的原因。低技术含量的做法,比如每天对数百间教室进行多次消毒,将会增加管理人员的成本。

Weekly testing of all University of California students and employees are estimated to run US$1 billion a year.

据估计,如果每周对加州大学所有学生和员工进行检测,每年要花费10亿美元。

College administrators understand that closing campuses reduces health risks while creating financial ones. The biggest of these is that students will not want to pay full tuition for online college. Surveys show that student satisfaction with remote teaching this spring has been low. Parental satisfaction was also low: They rated remote course quality as 5.6 out of 10 in one survey.

大学管理者明白,关闭校园会降低健康风险,但同时也会造成财务风险。其中最大的问题是,学生不想向在线教学的大学支付全额学费。调查显示,学生对今年春季学期远程教学的满意度很低。家长的满意度也很低:在一项调查中,他们对远程课程质量的评分为5.6分(满分10分)。

Another survey found that one-third of students would transfer out of their college “if their college continued online instruction for the fall semester.” Revenues may be hit by the fact that 79% of students said they would expect lower tuition for online or hybrid courses.

另一项调查发现,“如果学校在秋季学期继续在线教学,三分之一的学生将会从学校转学。”79%的学生表示,他们希望在线课程或混合课程的学费更低,这可能会影响大学的收入。

Wealthy private universities like Brown and Notre Dame may have decided that the financial risks of losing students are too great, and also have the money to regularly test everyone every week and undertake similarly expensive measures.

有钱的私立大学,如布朗大学和圣母大学,可能已经意识到失去学生的经济风险太大,它们也有钱每周定期检测每个人,就采取这些昂贵的措施(开放了校园)。

Need for government help

(对政府帮助的需求)

But how can public colleges and universities get the money to cover these costs in order to open? I’ve studied the finances of another public university – the University of California, where I am employed – in detail. Over the past 20 years, state funding has dropped to about 40% of what it should be today to fully fund all of today’s students.

但是公立大学如何获得资金来支付开放校园所需的费用呢?我仔细研究了另一所公立大学——我就职的加州大学的财政状况。在过去的20年里,国家拨款资金已经下降到如果全额资助现在所有学生所需资金的40%。

This means that the University of California, Cal State and most other public universities are now dependent on stable tuition revenues for COVID-19 suppression – and it still isn’t enough.

这意味着,加州大学、加州州立大学和大多数其他公立大学现在都依赖稳定的学费收入来在校园开放后抑制COVID-19病毒传播,但这仍然不够。


Only additional federal stimulus funding can solve the COVID-19 challenges that America’s public colleges and universities face. Higher education organizations initially requested $46.6 billion in COVID-19-related recovery funding. The CARES Act sent universities about $14 billion instead.

只有额外的联邦刺激资金才能解决美国公立大学面临的COVID-19挑战。高等教育组织最初申请了466亿美元的COVID-19相关恢复资金,而《冠状病毒援助、救济和经济安全法案》只给了各大学140亿美元。
(译者注:the CARES Act,全称为the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act,《冠状病毒援助、救济和经济安全法案》,由特朗普在2020年3月27日签署,2万亿美元的援助计划向受新冠肺炎疫情影响的家庭和企业提供经济援助。)

The current stimulus bill, the HEROES Act, provides an additional $32 billion for higher ed. But it may not survive the Senate. State legislatures seem to be betting on “too little too late” in the way of federal help and are planning major cuts to their higher education sectors, or are making steady budgets contingent on receiving federal money this summer.

当前的经济刺激法案——《英雄法案》为高等教育提供了额外的320亿美元,但它可能无法通过参议院。州立法机构似乎计划大幅削减高等教育部门的开支,或者根据今年夏天能否得到联邦政府的资金来决定预算。

The absence of federal stimulus funding will leave most public college without good choices.

缺少联邦刺激资金会让大多数公立大学没有好的选择。


To give their colleges a shot at a safe 2020-21 year, states must not cut their colleges and universities’ operating budgets. Colleges also need additional COVID-19-related cost support while there is still time to build the protocols and facilities that will allow them to open as much as COVID-19 will allow this fall.

为了让这些大学安全度过2020-2021学年,各州不能削减他们的运营预算。此外,高校还需要额外的财政支持。他们目前还有时间拟定协议、建造设施,以便在今年秋天在疫情允许的范围内尽可能多的开放校园。

Cal State’s half-million students deserve full college as much as the students at Brown and Notre Dame – and they need solid public funding that will allow it.

加州州立大学的50万学生和布朗大学和圣母大学的学生一样,都应该获得完整的大学教育——这需要坚实的公共资金来支持。