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In the last week, several large universities have canceled or changed the course of their fall term plans for on-campus instruction. This survey ran from August 10 to August 19. It was not designed to capture any changes made in the last week. Given the uncertainty the COVID-19 pandemic is creating, readers should recognize that the current higher education landscape is changing daily and our flash polls are simply a snapshot of a specific moment in time. 

NACUBO’s August 10 flash poll asked institutions about their plans for Fall 2020, now that many schools have a better idea of what the academic term will look like. Overall, poll results indicate that most institutions will allow students back on campus for in-person instruction in a modified way, and more than half of schools plan to offer classes both in-person and online.

In response to the pandemic, many schools provided additional institutional aid to students with emergency financial needs. Nevertheless, more than two-thirds of institutions expect Fall 2020 enrollment to decrease and most respondents expect less tuition revenue due to these enrollment declines, particularly among international students.

Less housing and other auxiliary revenue topped the list of other factors impacting schools’ FY21 budgets, along with reductions in state appropriations for public institutions. In light of COVID-related budget constraints, more than nine in 10 institutions reduced spending on professional development, and most respondents implemented hiring freezes. Poll results also indicate that federal and state governments have been important sources of liquidity and relief for many schools, a point underscored by the fact that three-quarters of respondents report that they have utilized or will utilize federal grants.

NACUBO received 208 valid responses to the August 10 poll: 108 four-year private non-profit institutions, 58 four-year public institutions, 30 two-year public institutions, and 12 institutions categorized as “other” or “unknown.”









Ken Redd

Senior Director, Research and Policy Analysis


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