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Helping nation’s colleges, universities remain afloat is worth discussing

A significant number of colleges and universities in the United States were coping with financial challenges, some severe, before COVID-19 reared its ugly head. Now, with many forced to suspend operations and send students home, these institutions of higher learning may be in existential peril.

What, if anything, can be done about that?

Public colleges and universities at least can fall back on taxpayers for some assistance. But private institutions may be up against the ivy-covered wall.

Many institutions will have to make tough choices involving suspension or elimination of programs on which significant numbers of students were counting. Others may find they simply do not have the financial resources to open classroom doors for the next semester.

Support from private donors is indispensable for many private colleges and universities. But turmoil in the economy makes it likely some formerly reliable supporters will say no when asked for emergency contributions.

The same factor will move assistance to higher education down on the priority lists of many policymakers at both the state and federal levels.

Still, loss of colleges and universities, some of which have been around for more than a century, would be a very bad thing for the nation. Finding some way to throw a lifeline to those in jeopardy ought to be devised.

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