I saw the uni's were screaming for a government bailout so the cynic in me wondered if the government had reached a deal with the unis to allow them to stay open so they get the rental income in return for shutting up..Yep, universities make a lot of their money on accommodation. I think something like 30 British universities were at risk of going under - right across the spectrum from the ancients to the post-92s - if the students did not attend this year. Loss of rent compounded with loss of income from summer conferences, holiday makers using halls accommodation etc.
Though ironically student numbers were up in many places! Not just from domestic students who didn’t want to sit around all year playing on the Xbox, but also from international students - which I think I recall the government extended the length of the U.K. visa which probably helped there. Many places actually took on new staff because of the increased student numbers.