As Colleges Move Online Classes, Families Rebel Against Cost


Chapman President Daniele Struppa said the university spent $ 20 million on technology and public health renovations for the fall semester, and he estimates the transition to an online fall will cost the school $ 110 million in revenue. He “brutally” cut spending from the annual budget by $ 400 million, he said, freezing hiring, cutting spending, canceling construction of a new gymnasium, ending employee retirement and giving up at 20% of his own base salary of $ 720,000.

Only students who can demonstrate financial need will receive help, he told families. “The tuition fees really reflect our operating costs, and that cost has not only not gone down, but has gone up dramatically.”

An American Council on Education survey estimated that reopening this fall would add 10% to a college’s regular operating expenses, costing the nation’s 5,000 colleges and universities a total of $ 70 billion.

“For the institutions,” said Hartle, who lobbies for the council, “it’s a perfect storm.”

Students are also feeling shaken by the storm.

Temple sociologist Sara Goldrick-Rab, founder of the university’s Hope Center for College, Community and Justice, said the organization has been “bombarded” with appeals for help from students who cannot pay. their rent and do not know how to apply for food stamps. At least a third of students had lost their jobs due to the pandemic in May, according to the center.

Such situations, Ms. Goldrick-Rab said, are particularly risky because they often lead students to take a second or third job or get distracted, putting at risk the financial aid that can be revoked if their grades fall.

Laurie Koehler, vice president of enrollment strategy at Ithaca College, said about one in six students said in a recently completed survey that the pandemic had significantly affected their ability to continue their education. At Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., School president Alison Byerly said she expects requests for additional financial aid to increase by as much as 15% this year.

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