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Kim Hart and Ted Mitchell. Photo: Axios

The coronavirus pandemic could reduce incoming student enrollment by up to 20%, Ted Mitchell, president of the American Council on Education, said at a virtual Axios event on Thursday.

What Mitchell is saying: "When you look at current college students, there’s always attrition especially between freshman and sophomore year. So that’s usually around 8%-10% so add on top of that another 10%."

  • "Let’s look at it the other way around: About 80% of students say they plan on enrolling in the fall. They’re planning on enrolling in the same institution and continuing with their education. I think that students get it. Families get it."

The big picture: Colleges are being forced to innovate the way to teach students in a safer way, whether with virtual classes or social distancing in campus lecture halls. Smaller colleges, which sometimes do not have the resources or alumni donors of a public college, will be particularly challenged.

"It’s going to be an important moment for a range of institutions, some of whom will need to find good partners to be able to provide the robust online learning that, Kim, you and I are talking about now. Other institutions are going to be more creative about expanding who they think of as their students. A majority of college students today are not 18-22-year-olds. Colleges need to cater more to the lifelong learner, the adult learner. And certainly in this economy, individuals who need to train and resell for the next generation of jobs."
— Mitchell told Axios Cities Correspondent Kim Hart

The bottom line: Mitchell said summer and fall enrollments are"top of mind" for higher education. Many institutions count on student enrollment for a big chunk of revenue.

Watch the event

Go deeper

Updated Aug 29, 2020 - Health

University of Alabama reports 1,052 COVID-19 cases since in-person classes began

Photo: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The University of Alabama on Friday reported an additional 485 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among students, faculty and staff since in-person classes resumed on Aug. 19, bringing the total number cases up to 1,052, according to the university's coronavirus dashboard.

Why it matters: The outbreak underscores concerns from public health experts that in-person classes could cause community spread within school populations. The total reported on Friday does not include the 381 positive tests caught when students, faculty and staff first re-entered campus.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat — Study: Trump campaign rallies likely led to over 700 COVID-related deaths.
  2. World: Boris Johnson announces month-long COVID-19 lockdown in England — Greece tightens coronavirus restrictions as Europe cases spike — Austria reimposes coronavirus lockdowns amid surge of infections.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Technology: Fully at-home rapid COVID test to move forward.
  5. States: New York rolls out new testing requirements for visitors.
Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."