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Call-In Special: New England Colleges In 'Survival Mode' As COVID-19 Jolts Higher Education

A tunnel of trees with bright foliage looking toward a building with a brick and white facade.
John Billingsley
COVID-19 has driven colleges and universities to adapt to a risky financial landscape. Here, a student walks down a path at Norwich University.

COVID-19 has driven New England’s higher education sector into financial "survival mode." Now colleges and universities must adapt or risk major — if not catastrophic — loss from the crisis. Join us for an America Amplified special from the New England News Collaborative. We'll bring together voices from across the region, and we want to hear yours.

Students, faculty, and administrators:

1. How has your college or university responded to the COVID-19 crisis? What does this mean for you?
2. Have you embraced the shift to remote learning? Are you optimistic about the prospect of returning to campus in the fall? Why or why not?

Call us between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Thursday, May 21, during our live, regional broadcast. The call-in number is 1-800-639-2211.

You can also join the conversation by tweeting us at @NENCNewEngland, or emailing


Danielle Douglas-Gabriel covers the economics of higher education for The Washington Post.

RADM Richard Schneider is the outgoing president of Norwich University, a private university in Northfield, Vermont. He is also a member of the Vermont Higher Education Council’s presidential board and serves as the higher education representative on Governor Phil Scott’s task force to restart Vermont.

Thomas O’Reilly is the president of Pine Manor College, a private liberal arts college in Brookline, Massachusetts. Pine Manor recently announced that it will merge with Boston College due to financial challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis.

Steve Striffler is the director of the Labor Resource Center at the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass Boston). He is also the incoming president of the Faculty Staff Union of UMass Boston.

Jacob Seeker is a rising sophomore at the University of Southern Maine (USM). He is a commuter student and human biology major.


Host: Jane Lindholm of VPR's Vermont Edition

Producer and Show Director: Lydia Brown

Coordinating Producer: Morgan Springer

Executive Producer: John Dankosky for America Amplified

Executive Editor: Vanessa de la Torre

Additional support: Vermont Public Radio, New England Public Radio, Connecticut Public, Maine Public Radio, WCAI and New Hampshire Public Radio. America Amplified and the New England News Collaborative are funded, in part, by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Jane Lindholm is the host, executive producer and creator of But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids. In addition to her work on our international kids show, she produces special projects for Vermont Public. Until March 2021, she was host and editor of the award-winning Vermont Public program Vermont Edition.
Lydia worked for Vermont Public Radio and Vermont PBS from 2019 until 2022.
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