The outbreak of coronavirus has torpedoed the budgets of public and private universities alike.

falling revenue, reimbursement of student fees, the possible decrease in enrollments fall and unexpected cost increases have laid the groundwork for a future difficult financial. public university systems face all that and another threat: .. impending cuts to state funding of higher education

all means renewed debate on the controversial idea of ​​closing public university campus < p> of the Vermont state university System, projecting an operating deficit in the short term of up to $ 10 million this fiscal year, announced last week plans for a "substantial transformation" of its universities that included the closure of several campus. Days later, the board postponed the vote on the plan amid negative reaction from the public.

The System of Higher Education of the State of Pennsylvania expects a loss of $ 52 million, even after applying the federal stimulus money. The University of Alaska system projects a loss of $ 35 to $ 40 million. University of Maine system is looking at a short-term loss $ 20 million. Many states have announced or will announce budget cuts as a result of the coronavirus, and is expected to fund higher education to be a great success. dollars higher education

New Jersey has frozen. It is expected that New York ed to cut more funding despite a proposal earlier this year by Governor Andrew Cuomo to galvanize support from the state. California hopes to do well in an increase of $ 217.7 million proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, but recently called January balance "is no longer operable."

Despite the difficulties, public university systems are rejecting the proposed closure and remain focused on collaboration, experts say.

The system of the state of Pennsylvania had financial problems for years and still fails to reverse the declining enrollment throughout the system. Dennis Jones, president emeritus of the National Center for Management Systems Higher Education, proposed by the state legislature remembered years ago to close "a campus or two or three."

"There are legislators from Pennsylvania who would love to close a campus or two just because they think it is a way to save money," he said.

Daniel Greenstein, rector of the system, remains steadfast in keeping all systems of open campus.

"Politically makes no sense, and from the point of view of public policy that has no sense," he said of the closure.

The small enclosures with rapidly declining enrollments and serving low-income students are more often threatened with closure, Greenstein said. In Pennsylvania, it is schools in rural areas of the state.

However, the closing of the precincts double damage, Greenstein continued. Any region with a closed campus would lose its largest employer and access to education for local students who need it.

"It is difficult for rural communities to source the rural and business leaders they need," Greenstein said. "So they use universities as a way to train their teachers and nurses and their main street businesses."

But for a public university institution hemorrhaging money, the fastest way to stop bleeding is amputated campus, right?

"No," Jones said. "Not in the short term, at least."

Many universities have bonded debt, which means you still owe money to investors for buildings, residences and other projects.

Closing a campus through losing the opportunity to generate income to pay the debt, Greenstein said.

"That just is absorbed by the other universities in the system," he said.

That said, Greenstein emphasized that just because a school remains open does not mean that it will continue as before.

"When you say it will not close an institution that does not mean it is only going to continue as it is," Greenstein said. "I can not. It is bleeding cash. "

It was suggested to maintain successful programs where they are and move less popular online programs, be taught virtually another campus system so they run. The systems can also consolidate services that are required in all areas, such as payroll, to save money.

Initiatives Greenstein mentioned relates to the idea of ​​"systemness" a term that Jason Lane and Rebecca Martin often use to describe public university systems that work as a unit and not as a conglomerate of universities independent. Lane is the director of the Center for Systems and Dean of the Faculty of Education at the State University of New York at Albany. Martin leads the National Association of Chiefs of the system.

"We are seeing presidents of the campus, in many cases, speaking weekly, if not daily with the administration of the system. Provosts gather together to discuss policies and coordinated academic programs, "Lane said. "There is no doubt that there has been an unprecedented level of coordination and systemness has come out of this."

However, not all schools are following a model of this type.

"Vermont treated this as a problem of the campus by campus," Jones said, 'instead of saying,' we need to provide access to education ... how are we as a system will do that? ''

the state of Vermont's plan college system to review their schools includes closing the campus Randolph Center Vermont Technical College and the University of Vermont North and the dismissal of 500 employees . After retreat of the community, motherboard Chair of Trustees, J. Churchill Hindes, announced Sunday that a vote on the plan would be postponed for at the least a week.

"I listened to my colleagues on the board and want to give them time to consider important decisions we have to do," Hindes said in a press release. "But ... delayed action increases the risks faced deep financial four colleges and universities VSC. These risks are growing daily. Just we do not have the funds to pay a prolonged debate and discussion. "

The University System of the State of Vermont did not respond to a request for comment.

As for whether there will be more proposals closing and Vermont, Jones, NCHEMS, they said yes.

"Systems that have their act together they will not close. Can repurpose them, "Jones said. "These systems are less able to behave as a system can actually close to some, because I think we'll be in at least a year or two pretty tough economic times for higher education."

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