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During its weekly telephone town halls, NACUBO is asking its members to respond to flash polls on emerging topics of concern to business officers in light of COVID-19. Results are collected during the telephone town hall and through the week.

NACUBO’s May 12 flash poll focused on how colleges and universities have transitioned to online learning and the associated institutional costs. In early spring, the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic led to rapid campus closures at schools across the country and created a pressing need for institutions to develop or expand distance-learning strategies. Our findings show that the vast majority of colleges and universities transitioned to online learning in two weeks or less, with many schools investing in employee training and providing equipment for faculty, staff, and students.

NACUBO received 105 valid responses to the May 12 poll: 50 four-year private non-profit institutions, 32 four-year public institutions, 17 two-year public institutions, and six institutions categorized as “other.”


Our open-ended question for this poll asked, “What other learning technology-related costs or issues have emerged on your campus since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic?” The following themes emerged:

  1. Schools have increased technology-related expenditures. Institutions needed to rapidly increase spending on technology-related equipment, software agreements, and security. Many institutions expect to continue investing in technology in the next fiscal year.
  2. Some students and faculty members struggle to acclimate. Students may have unreliable internet access, while some faculty members struggle to adapt course work to remote learning.
  3. Certain educational activities cannot be done remotely. From delivering clinical experiences to accessing campus printers, there are certain educational services and activities that cannot be replicated online and educators (and perhaps even accreditors) will need to think about how to deliver appropriate educational experiences using safe social distancing practices.


Ken Redd

Senior Director, Research and Policy Analysis


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