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College students demand tuition cuts amid plans to keep classes virtual

As more universities abandon plans to reopen and decide instead to keep classes online this fall, it’s leading to conflict between students who say they deserve tuition discounts and college leaders who insist remote learning is worth the full cost.

Disputes are flaring both at colleges that announced weeks ago they would stick with virtual instruction and at those that only recently lost hope of reopening their campuses. Among the latest schools facing pressure to lower tuition are Michigan State University and Ithaca College, which scrapped plans to reopen after seeing other colleges struggle to contain coronavirus outbreaks.

The scourge has killed more than 175,000 people in the United States. Worldwide, the confirmed death toll hit 800,000 on Saturday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, and cases were nearing 23 million.

In petitions started at dozens of universities, students arguing for reduced tuition say online classes fail to deliver

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Persimmon back to pre-pandemic building, M&S cuts jobs, and BHP cuts dividend

Here are the top business, market, and economic stories you should be watching today in the UK, Europe, and abroad:

Persimmon back to pre-pandemic building levels

PSN.L) jumped to the top of the FTSE 100 on Tuesday thanks to a strong half-year report.” data-reactid=”25″House builder Persimmon (PSN.L) jumped to the top of the FTSE 100 on Tuesday thanks to a strong half-year report.

Persimmon chief executive Dave Jenkinson confirmed that building rates were “back at pre-Covid levels” as the company confirmed a 40p per share interim dividend.

Revenue in the six months to the end of June was down 35% to £1.1bn ($1.4bn) and pre-tax profit fell 42% to £292m. However, this had been expected given months of lockdown in the first half of the year.

“Despite the significant disruption, the Group’s preparedness, agility and strength ensured a robust first half performance with 4,900 new home completions and

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Scientists fear for the world’s most endangered sea turtle as the Park Service cuts back

Kemp's ridley sea turtles at Padre Island, off the Gulf Coast of Texas. <span class="copyright">(National Park Service)</span>
Kemp’s ridley sea turtles at Padre Island, off the Gulf Coast of Texas. (National Park Service)

Every summer, thousands of people travel to Padre Island National Seashore at dawn to cheer on sea turtle hatchlings as they are released into the surf.

It’s a huge tourist attraction for this national park on the Texas coast and a conservation success story — the result of a decades-long effort to save the most endangered sea turtle from extinction.

But after more than 40 years of supporting and celebrating the program, National Park Service officials appear to have soured on paying for it.

In a recent report, agency officials proposed sweeping changes to the park’s conservation efforts that scientists said would make it significantly more difficult, if not impossible, to establish a thriving population of Kemp’s ridley sea turtles on the island.

The report suggested that saving sea turtles was taking up too

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Coronavirus’s painful side effect is deep budget cuts for state and local government services

<span class="caption">Washington state cut both merit raises and instituted furloughs as it faced a projected $8.8 billion budget deficit because of the coronavirus.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/washington-state-olympia-state-capitol-building-with-spring-news-photo/452908636?adppopup=true" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images">Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images</a></span>
Washington state cut both merit raises and instituted furloughs as it faced a projected $8.8 billion budget deficit because of the coronavirus. Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

Nationwide, state and local government leaders are warning of major budget cuts as a result of the pandemic. One state – New York – even referred to the magnitude of its cuts as having “no precedent in modern times.”

Declining revenue combined with unexpected expenditures and requirements to balance budgets means state and local governments need to cut spending and possibly raise taxes or dip into reserve funds to cover the hundreds of billions of dollars lost by state and local government over the next two to three years because of the pandemic.

Without more federal aid or access to other sources of money (like reserve funds or borrowing), government officials have made it clear: Budget cuts will be happening in the coming

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