Covid, Colleges, and Classes

44 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2021

See all articles by Danny Klinenberg

Danny Klinenberg

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)

Richard Startz


Date Written: January 28, 2021


At the start of the 2020 school year, some colleges chose to reopen in person while others offered primarily online classes. Why? Colleges with higher shares of revenue independent of students being on campus were less likely to reopen in person. Larger shares of revenue attributed to in-person activities, such as dorms and dining halls, led schools to reopen in person. Public and private colleges responded differently to key determinants. Public colleges were influenced by political pressures and the fraction of students from out of state, while private schools responded to the severity of COVID in their local community.

Keywords: COVID, higher education

JEL Classification: I20, I10

Suggested Citation

Klinenberg, Danny and Startz, Richard, Covid, Colleges, and Classes (January 28, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Danny Klinenberg

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) ( email )

United States

HOME PAGE: http://

Richard Startz (Contact Author)

UCSB ( email )

Department of Economics
University of California
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9210
United States
805-893-2895 (Phone)

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