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Loss of Workers

Nearly half a million employees have left US universities or colleges between February and September, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

It reports that, based on figures from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are some 484,000 fewer workers at private and public colleges and universities in the US, or about a tenth of the higher education workforce, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In January 2020, it notes there were 4.67 million people employed by such institutions, but that has dropped to 4.18 million by September.

The Chronicle notes that some of this decline has led to the loss of degree and sports programs, as well as to an increase in workload for remaining employees. Guilford College, for instance, plans to do away with about half its majors and lay off more than a dozen tenured professors, it adds. 

It further adds that these numbers don't include employees of outside companies that provide schools with, for instance, cleaning or cooking services.