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.

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Though health workers represent less than 3% of the population in many countries, they account for around 14% of the coronavirus cases reported to the World Health Organization, WHO announced Thursday.

Why it matters: The WHO called on governments and health care leaders to address threats facing the health and safety of these workers, adding that the pandemic has highlighted how protecting them is needed to ensure a functioning health care system.