Why Colleges Should Open in Fall
- Written by UnivAdmitHelp
- Category: Insights & Information
- Published on 21 May 2020
Why colleges should open in the fall
The ideals of education are high and untouchable. Yet the truth remains, on an economical level, as well as a functional level, that an educational institute cannot function on its own if there are no students to teach. Additionally, international students are an essential cog in the machinery as they contribute to a great degree of finances especially if they are full-tuition.
Approximately 13% of all students at Masters level and a 3% at undergraduate level are overseas applicants. For some universities, as many as 50% of all students are from international locations.
And thus, if overseas cannot return to campus, the education institutes will not be able to survive. The basic business model for most colleges and universities is simple — tuition comes due twice a year at the beginning of each semester. Remaining closed in the fall means losing as much as half of the revenue.
Students on the other hand feel stranded. Careers and futures are at stake here. After years of preparation, if 2020 was the year for a student’s entry into the university, this year those hopes seem to be dashed. In the coming year, this adds additional pressure and an even more competitive edge to the admissions process. As colleges scramble to accommodate a greater number of deferrals from previous years, the pool of applicants will see a steep increment. The number of acceptances might dwindle due to factors imposed in light of social distancing: fewer slots available as colleges consider options to reduce campus population. There will thus be more and more students for fewer and fewer seats. The competition just got exponentially lit.
As opposed to a course opening only its online portals, there are many reasons why students would rather go for offline, regular, live sessions.
- The experience of live classes is more enriching.
- Depending on the learning styles of every student, different aspects of the course connect differently with each one. And so online sessions might not be the right fit for everyone.
- Interaction with faculty as well as colleagues creates an atmosphere rife with discussions and creativity, the likes of which are impossible to regenerate in virtual sessions.
- Some homes are not risk free. There are many factors why a student might choose to go to college only to get away from home.
And yet students with previous health conditions might have to reconsider their education plans.
Universities are like microcosms of cities. They represent mini-economies in themselves. They provide employment at many levels to all parts of society. So if small colleges cannot open, they will not be able to stay in the business, and that in turn will impact the economy.
The way forward:
The biggest challenge for colleges and universities is that they are residential. The spaces are crowded, and everyone is together. (That’s where great ideas come from!) The public health principles that apply to cities would apply to universities and college campuses as well. While testing for illness is a given standard practice, a part of the residential area should be prepared for segregated living. The number of students, faculty might be reduced to avoid congestion. Even as aggressive testing, contact tracing and requirements for isolation and quarantine are likely to raise concerns about threats to civil liberty, some institutes have even explored how to seek immunity against lawsuits. Detailed plans and scenarios are being discussed even as we write this. Colleges across the world are brainstorming ways to open a college safely without compromising on the “campus culture”. Face masks, sitting 6 feet apart, classes in dormitories, doors without handles, no more buffet, and no fall break: these and more ideas have been discussed.
With their own survival at stake, colleges should open in the fall. Taking necessary steps and precautions will be cumbersome and costly. Reduced numbers in the workforce and the student body will affect the economics of the establishment as well as the quality of the experience. But change we must. It will force institutions to innovate as never before, and we can only imagine that the new ways will offer much more to education than ever.