COVID-19 will hit colleges when students arrive for fall semester. So why open at all? Money is a factor.
Colleges that are reopening campuses this fall know they’re bringing a higher risk of coronavirus to their community.
The questions aren’t really about if or when, but about how bad outbreaks could be — and whether having an in-person experience for students is worth the cost. With so much at stake, some students, parents and faculty are asking: Why take the risk at all?
In many cases, it comes back to money.
For months, colleges and experts have warned another semester of remote courses could have disastrous effects on student enrollment and college budgets.
Colleges already lost billions of dollars when they pivoted to digital instruction in the spring, in the form of refunded room-and-board payments and expensive technology for online courses. Another semester — or year — of online courses could be even worse, especially for universities without large endowments.
For any institution, online instruction also means no money