The University of Maine System’s recent decision to close university campuses to students and transition to remote learning for the remainder of the semester was premature and irresponsible, and will have a massive cascading impact on the local economy.

The impact of students going home and staying home is going to be like a financial bomb going off for Orono-based restaurants, shops, hair salons, gas stations and apartment complexes, all of which rely on that revenue to operate. Some of these businesses don’t have sufficient cash reserves to survive if their customer base disappears overnight, and will end up going out of business – especially if this remote learning policy continues into the fall semester.

I wonder if the UMaine System considered the potential long-term impact to enrollment if students suddenly are exposed to how effective remote learning is vs. paying tuition fees (which increase faster than inflation) to physically attend the university. They may be creating a new trend here where some kids start doing the math on student loan re-payment and decide to learn accounting from an online college, or self-teaching from books or podcasts and then taking a CPA exam, etc.

The impact of the UMaine System’s decision will be felt by local businesses and families for months, and possibly years to come.

Matthew Acheson

Orono


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: