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Due to the current scenario of the outbreak of the coronavirus. It has become a major disruption to colleges and universities across the country and with most institutions canceling in-person classes and moving to online-only instruction solely. So, the pandemic also threatens to significantly alter nearly every aspect of college life and also from admissions and enrollment to collegiate athletics as well. So, these concerns extend to the financial future of higher education institutions in a time of considerable financial instability, also both in the form of unexpected costs as well as potential reductions in revenue efficiency. Besides, the situation continues to develop increasingly and legislators are taking an active role in addressing both the immediate and long-term challenges related to the outbreak of a pandemic. So, as many colleges close on-campus housing and dining, legislators have introduced bills to ensure students receive refunds for room and board expenses as well. Additionally, Other states are considering bills that would pause the collection of payments on state held student loans. So, the Pending legislation also requires higher education institutions to develop and expand emergency preparedness and response plans efficiently. Thus, the Legislators are also exploring strategies to address funding and appropriations for public colleges and universities, and institutions.
The Closures & Move to Online Instruction:-
The Campus Closures :
The date of March 6, lead to making the University of Washington became the first major university to cancel in-person classes and examinations. So, By the middle of March, colleges across the country had followed suit and more than 1,100 colleges along with universities in all 50 states have canceled in-person classes or shifted to online instructions solely, so many spring graduation ceremonies were also canceled or postponed accordingly.
Therefore, The main focus of higher education institutions is now on the fall 2020 semester solely and though a significant uncertainty continues effectively. So, now Campus reopening plans vary drastically by schools, but broadly fall into three categories as follows:-
Efficient Planning for In-Person Instruction -with social distancing-- Numerous Schools in different countries, including Arizona State University, University of Alabama, the University of North Carolina system, and Texas Tech University have announced plans to reopen campuses in the fall and with various social distancing approaches in place to protect student and faculty health as well. Also, the Reopen Connecticut Task Force has developed a set of guidelines and procedures for reopening college campuses this fall solely. So, According to tracking from the Chronicle of Higher Education, it has roughly 60% of schools are planning for in-person instructions effectively.
Effectively Creating a Hybrid Model / Limiting Students on Campus—Numerous schools are planning more limited reopening approaches with a blend of in-person as well as online learning options. So, According to the Chronicle- 24% of institutions plan to operate a hybrid model during the fall semester solely. Additionally, Other institutions such as Harvard and Princeton have announced plans to welcome some of them, though not all students back to campus in the fall.
Efficiently Moving to Online-Only Instruction-- Many schools in different countries like as the University of Southern California and the entire California State University system, have announced they will continue online-only courses in fall 2020 yr. So, According to the Chronicle, 9% of institutions plan to operate online-only during the fall semester solely.
The Immediate Financial Challenges:-
If we talk about the short-term, then colleges and universities face a number of unexpected expenses from the outbreak- that includes-
Many Pro-rated refunds issued to students for the room as well as board and These refunds will impact institutions differently, Though for many schools with high numbers of students living on the campus itself, so the refunds will amount to a substantial unexpected cost altogether. So, For instance- the University of Wisconsin system includes 13 campuses and estimates that it will issue about $78 million in refunds in total.
Various Dorm cleaning operations, Most schools had to spend additional money to clean dorms as well as other facilities after students leave.
Increased technology costs associated with moving to online courses, various colleges and universities have also announced hiring freezes for faculty and pay cuts or furloughs for staff as well. So, the Concerns about adjunct and part-time faculty and who make up more than 40% of faculty nationwide, have also emerged instantly. Thus, Nearly all adjunct faculty lack paid sick leave and few receive health insurance from their colleges and universities.
Also, addressing Student Supports & Resources altogether.
The Campus Housing and Dining, The increasing numbers of colleges limit in-person courses and services as well as some have noted the serious challenges these closures create for students. So, many students depend on college dorms and dining halls as well as work-study programs for their housing, food, and income efficiently.
The Student Financial Aid & Affordability:-When it comes to unprecedented closures of higher education campuses and disruptions to K-12 schools, actually have significant impacts on both current and future students' ability to receive and manage financial aid accordingly. So, the Department of Education issued additional guidance to provide flexibility to students and institutions that have had to close due to the outbreak that occurred by the pandemic. So, as changes in high schools impact graduating seniors and state-run scholarships, as well as higher education programs, may be impacted effectively.
The Student loan:- As the Coronavirus Aid and Relief as well as Economic Security Act -CARES, a stimulus package that includes the following provisions related to student loans as follows-
It Automatically defers payments and waives interest on federally held student loans, through September 30, 2020 year.
It Suspends collection actions along with penalties for borrowers with defaulted federal loans through September 30, 2020 year.
It allows companies to pay up to $5,250 of employee’s student loan payments, on a tax-free basis through December 31, 2020 year.
It Waives consecutive service requirements for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program as well.
It Waives the requirement that students repay the entire portion of a federal student loan if they withdraw from courses due to COVID-19 emergencies.