An already difficult year may not get much better for college towns like Columbia, at least according to a new study by SmartAsset, a financial technology company based in New York City.
The study ranks Columbia the 25th-most vulnerable U.S. college town — of 95 analyzed — to the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Much depends on what universities decide to do about holding in-person classes this fall and what those classes will look like. Many fear that in-person classes will accelerate the spread of the virus. Even if schools reopen, the pandemic is still expected to reduce spending and revenues as at least some students reduce activities to stay safe.
That’s a big concern for cities like Columbia, whose economies rely on large student populations.
Columbia is projecting a 10% decline in sales tax revenue this year, according to previous Missourian reporting. Originally, the council had only budgeted for a 2.5% decrease. Sales tax accounts for 27% of the city’s revenue.
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