Virus could mean boom or bust for Montana State this fall

It would be a disaster if hundreds of Montana students don’t show up for the fall semester, figuring they’d rather take a gap year than online classes. Even worse would be if hundreds of out-of-state students – on whom MSU relies to supply 44% of its budget – decide to choose a college closer to home.

Then MSU’s expensive new classrooms, dorms and dining halls could go empty and the university could face dropping tuition revenue, shrinking state dollars, budget cuts and layoffs. National experts have already warned that the virus could put some U.S. campuses into a “death spiral.”