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Harvard Square in Cambridge. Photo: Lane Turner/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Small businesses and workers in college towns are hurting as the pandemic pushes universities to go online.

The big picture: Hundreds of local economies across the country rely on the annual influx of students and professors to stay afloat.

Businesses in college towns are 24% more likely to shutter permanently than their counterparts in other towns, per new Yelp data.

Among the hardest-hit places...

  • College Park, Maryland (University of Maryland), saw 4.4% of businesses close for good.
  • Berkeley, California (University of California, Berkeley), 4.2%.
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts (Harvard and MIT), 3.8%.

Go deeper: College reopening plans are crumbling

Go deeper

DeVos extends federal student loan relief to Jan. 31

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump administration is extending federal student loan relief, which includes a pause on payments and interest accrual, through Jan. 31, the Department of Education announced Friday.

Why it matters: Payments have been paused since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the relief was set to expire on Dec. 31 . The relief measures, which also include the suspension of collections of defaulted federal student loans, have helped mitigate some of the pandemic's negative consequences for millions of borrowers.

Dec 4, 2020 - Health

CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use"

Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

The CDC is urging “universal face mask use” for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, citing recent case spikes as the U.S. has entered a phase of “high-level transmission” before winter officially begins.

Why it matters: Daily COVID-related deaths across the U.S. hit a new record on Wednesday. Face coverings have been shown to increase protection of the wearer and those around them, despite some Americans' reluctance to use them.

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