Three Texas college towns could face financial devastation from pandemic, according to new study

Sep 10, 2020 by

The crushing effects of the pandemic could annihilate the economies of some college towns across the U.S., a new study finds.

Amid the COVID-19 outbreaks on college campuses and subsequent quarantines, the crushing effects of the pandemic could annihilate the economies of some college towns across the U.S., a new study finds. In a report by Business Insider, three Texas college towns could face economic devastation if the COVID-19 pandemic forces the schools to effectively shut down their activities on campus.

The most vulnerable Texas towns that emerged on the Business Insider report include San Marcos, home of Texas State University; College Station, main campus of Texas A&M University;  and Huntsville, home base for Sam Houston State University. Business Insider found 30 college towns in the U.S. which would take a severe financial hit if the schools which serve as their community anchors don’t reopen or close soon after reopening.

To estimate which college towns are the most economically vulnerable, Business Insider based the ranking on undergraduate enrollment as a share of the town or city’s population. To further break it down, they looked at the 200 colleges and universities with the largest number of degree- or certificate-seeking undergraduates gathered from fall 2018 college data from the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS.)

Texas State University ranks No. 10 on the report and has 33,531 degree or certificate undergraduates who comprise 52.6 percent of the population in San Marcos. Texas A&M University shows up as No. 12 on the list and has 53,150 degree or certificate seeking undergraduates who make up 45.8 percent of the population in College Station. Sam Houston State University ranks No. 17 and has 16,588 degree or certificate-seeking undergraduates who make up 39.3 percent of the population in Huntsville.

Texas college towns are seeing an escalation in COVID-19 cases with the return of students to campus, and many universities have had to discipline students who have attended or hosted house parties or Greek events.

“We have already begun formal action with both individuals and organizations,” Kristen Harrell, associate director for student life and student affairs at Texas A&M University told the Texas Tribune. “We will continue to take action on reports where we can specifically identify students or organizations.”

Here’s the comprehensive list of the 30 college towns that would be most negatively impacted if students of the largest college campus don’t return or have to leave campus again:

  1. University of Maryland–College Park
  2. Kennesaw State University
  3. Michigan State University
  4. Washington State University
  5.  Purdue University
  6. Georgia Southern University
  7.  Rutgers University-New Brunswick
  8.  Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  9.  University of Delaware
  10.  Texas State University
  11.  Cornell University
  12.  Texas A&M University-College Station
  13. California Polytechnic State University
  14.  University of California-Davis
  15. Iowa State University
  16. Bowling Green State University
  17. Sam Houston University
  18. Oklahoma State University (Main campus)
  19. Indiana University-Bloomington
  20. University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign
  21. Utah State University
  22. Auburn University
  23. James Madison University
  24. University of Virginia (Main Campus)
  25. Oregon State University
  26. Illinois State University
  27. Kansas State University
  28. Northern Arizona University
  29. The University of Alabama
  30. Montana State University

Source: Three Texas college towns could face financial devastation from pandemic, according to new study – Houston Chronicle

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