As college students are managing many disruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak, many in Arizona and across the US are requesting their schools switch to a pass/fail grading system. Students say the change would also alleviate inequities for those from less privileged backgrounds who might not have the same resources and living conditions as other classmates and might have difficulty achieving the same grades while at home with family.
Endicott College is adjusting its budget in the wake of the campus closing, predicting $8.5 million in refunds for unused room and board, lower enrollment in the fall and an extension of its capital campaign. The seaside college, however, relies less on tuition than some schools as it rents out facilities for weddings, conferences and special events.
Colleges and universities have the ability to lead efforts to control the coronavirus crisis, according to S. Abu Turab Rizvi and Peter Eckel. Schools can give essential personnel a platform for their expertise to fight COVID-19, help front-line workers with housing and supplies and also can support their communities with online tools, they write.
The San Francisco Art Institute won't admit any new students after this semester in an effort to stay afloat while finances and possible mergers with nearby schools are explored. MacMurray College in Illinois announced it will close after the semester due to ongoing financial constraints.
The $14 billion allocated for higher-education institutions that is part of the $2 trillion federal coronavirus stimulus package won't be enough to make good on losses, according to an analysis from Moody's Investors Service. Moody's analysts predict the funding will only equal 1% of most university expenditures.
The effects of the coronavirus on higher education are anticipated to extend to the admissions process for this fall, writes University of Southern California professor Robert Massa, with schools likely to offer extended admissions periods and some schools accepting a higher percentage of students than usual. Prospective students may also receive more financial aid and scholarship money due to the financial impacts their parents are experiencing, Massa says.
Students at some colleges are weighing in on their schools' decisions to cancel in-person commencement ceremonies in favor of virtual graduations, including students at Tufts, who convinced administrators to forgo a virtual event and instead reschedule the in-person ceremony when it is safe to do so. Some universities are planning to go ahead with a virtual graduation but with an actual ceremony to be planned later.
The board of the University of North Carolina System voted to adapt admissions standards for the next three years in response to students not being able to take the SAT and ACT amid the coronavirus emergency. The tests will still be required, but admission will be based on a minimum GPA or score on the SAT or ACT instead of a minimum GPA in addition to a test score.
Community colleges are helping students during the coronavirus outbreak by donating food, providing for rent and leaving certain spaces open for students without reliable access to WiFi. Other schools have donated laptops, started funds for furloughed or laid-off students and made sure their course content was available on all devices.
The economic models in higher education, and the grants that fund them, will undergo a seismic change in response to the coronavirus, writes Goldie Blumenstyk, who spoke to several foundations. Concerns include current and potential low-income students, funding for online teaching technology and training, and students left out after permanent closure of some schools.
- Page 1