The pandemic hit almost every industry hard, but few were hit as hard as higher education.

Times were already tough for many American universities, mostly because of declining enrollment numbers and weakening financial support from state governments. The pandemic accelerated these trends and forced colleges — especially smaller private colleges and a ton of midlevel state schools — to gut their budgets and lay off workers to offset revenue losses.

As we emerge from this pandemic, it’s worth asking what will become of higher education in America. And if the situation is as dire as it appears, should students — and parents — seriously rethink the value of college?

To get some answers, I reached out to Kevin Carey, who covers higher education for

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