It’s now something of a cliché that the novel coronavirus has shaken up our normal patterns of behavior, and that we’ll not return to them unchanged. Given widespread unhappiness with the state of higher education, could some change for the better result?

What most needs to change won’t: the one-party politicized professoriate will still be there, egged on instead of restrained by diversity-obsessed administrative bureaucracies. But useful change may still come if students and parents begin to see higher education in a different way. How will the disruption affect them? To answer that, we need first to understand how uncertain public attitudes already were before the virus arrived. Pulling in one direction are the famous names of academia’s great institutions, its impressive buildings and diplomas, and a long-standing habit of seeing college as the pathway to a better life for one’s children. Pulling in the other direction are persistent stories of higher education heavily corrupted by radical indoctrination, together with sharply increased costs and crippling student indebtedness.

Dropping Enrollment

This is an unstable situation. Distinct movement in one direction was already visible. In 2018, Gallup found that “no other institution has shown a larger drop in confidence over

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