3 Hudson Valley Universities May 'Perish' Due To Coronavirus

Michael Woyton

HUDSON VALLEY, NY — Three colleges and universities in the Hudson Valley may not survive the coronavirus pandemic. That's according to research by Scott Galloway, a marketing professor at New York University who categorized over 400 higher education institutions into four quadrants: thrive, survive, struggle or perish due to the effects of the coronavirus.

Galloway plotted the institutions across two axes: value and vulnerability. Value looked at factors such as credentials, experience, education and tuition. Vulnerability looked at factors such as endowment dollars per student and share of international students.

Low endowment dollars and reliance on full-tuition international students make a university vulnerable to what he called "Covid shock," as those institutions could opt to "sit this semester/year out."

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Galloway's "perish" list includes 89 schools such as University of Massachusetts Boston, University of Indianapolis, University of New England, University of Hartford, George Fox University, and Robert Morris University. These schools feature a "sodium pentathol cocktail of high admit rates, high tuition, low endowments, dependence on international students, and weak brand equity," Galloway said.

In the Hudson Valley, Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, Bard College in Annandale and Pace University, which has campuses in New York City and Pleasantville, were all categorized under the "perish" list.

Neither spokespersons from Pace University nor Bard College responded to repeated requests for comment.

Brendan O'Callaghan, director of public affairs at Sarah Lawrence College, took issue with Galloway's analysis.

He said in a phone call with Patch that the college has broken records for the number of applications over the last five years and is focusing on high quality individual learning.

"We are actively planning for the long term," O'Callaghan said, "and the value of a Sarah Lawrence education is proven time and again to be a worthwhile investment."

Galloway in his post acknowledged the datasets he used for the analysis were not peer-reviewed.

"It’s a working document that seeks to analyze and understand the US college and university landscape and to help universities craft solutions," he said.

Christopher Ames, president of the Sage Colleges, which was also identified as being under the "perish" category, also disputed Galloway's findings.

"Turning those trend predictions into a ranking system is a perilous business and his prognostications are unsound," Ames told the Albany Business Review.

Elmore Alexander, dean emeritus at Bridgewater State University’s Ricciardi College of Business, said the institutions highlighted as most likely to fail showed signs of distress years before the pandemic. The coronavirus outbreak merely exacerbated those problems, he said.

"The cracks in the business models of the schools in the 'struggle' and 'perish' cells were already there and had been for the past several years, Alexander told the Business Journal. "Coronavirus has just turned the cracks into chasms."

Written by Dan Hampton/Patch Staff, with additional reporting by Michael Woyton/Patch Staff.

This article originally appeared on the Bronxville-Eastchester Patch