COVID-19

Chegg CEO: In the short term, COVID-19 will be “devastating” for higher ed

Kai Ryssdal and Sean McHenry May 19, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace
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The campus of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., is seen nearly empty as classes were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

Chegg CEO: In the short term, COVID-19 will be “devastating” for higher ed

Kai Ryssdal and Sean McHenry May 19, 2020
The campus of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., is seen nearly empty as classes were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images
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Classes over Zoom. Canceled graduations. Online exams. The coronavirus pandemic has transformed education as we know it ⁠— for now, at least. Dan Rosensweig, CEO of educational tech company Chegg, thinks the changes could be longer lasting.

“I’ve been predicting, not happily, by the way, that about 20% to 25% of colleges are going to go bankrupt,” Rosensweig told Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal.

Chegg, which is best known for textbook rentals and its online homework services, saw a 35% increase in the number of subscribers year-over-year, according to its first quarter earnings report.

But while the pandemic could present opportunities for Chegg, the future for some colleges is uncertain. In a recent letter to students and alumni, the president of Wells College in Aurora, New York, warned the school may close forever if it’s unable to host students for fall semester.

According to Rosensweig, this could be the beginning of a larger trend. “I don’t think people will put the same value on dorms and food,” he said.

“I think the aftermath might be great,” Rosensweig said. “But the short term is going to be devastating to a lot of schools, a lot of faculty and, unfortunately, a lot of students.”

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

When does the expanded COVID-19 unemployment insurance run out?

The CARES Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump in March, authorized extra unemployment payments, increasing the amount of money, and broadening who qualifies. The increased unemployment benefits have an expiration date — an extra $600 per week the act authorized ends on July 31.

Which states are reopening?

Many states have started to relax the restrictions put in place in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Although social-distancing measures still hold virtually everywhere in the country, more than half of states have started to phase out stay-at-home orders and phase in business reopenings. Others, like New York, are on slower timelines.

Is it worth applying for a job right now?

It never hurts to look, but as unemployment reaches levels last seen during the Great Depression and most available jobs are in places that carry risks like the supermarket or warehouses, it isn’t a bad idea to sit tight either, if you can.

You can find answers to more questions here.

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