Why one college has announced a major tuition cut

Cost of attendance will be $63,200 for Williams College's 2020-21 academic year

Williams College will cut tuition, room and board by 15% for the coming school year “in recognition of the extraordinary circumstances and of this academic year and the uncertainty we face in the year ahead,” its president, Maud S. Mandel, has announced.

The cost of attendance will be $63,200 for the Massachusetts college’s 2020-21 academic year, while family financial aid contributions will also drop by 15%.

Williams is waiving its student activities and the work-study contribution for students receiving financial aid.

Administrators have also canceled fall athletic competition and travel, though Williams’ teams may be able to hold practices.

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Like most colleges and universities, Williams plans a mix of online learning and in-person classes for the fall semester.

Students who return to campus will be tested for coronavirus each week and be required to wear masks and adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Surveys have found that, while most college students say their institution has responded well to the coronavirus, a majority don’t want to pay full tuition if all of their classes will be online in the 2020-21 school year, University Business reported last week.

In a survey, most of the students said guidance identifying internships and job opportunities should be a higher priority than online learning. A majority also were concerned with the cost of textbooks.

Some schools will remain online

Unity College in Maine is also cutting tuition though it has decided it will start the new school year with remote instruction only.

Administrators have created five-week terms that will allow them to frequently reassess whether students and faculty can safely resume in-person classes, the school has announced.

All remote and online courses will be offered at a hybrid learning tuition rate that “is significantly less than Unity’s flagship tuition rate,” the university says.

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“We know that some of you want to learn online and others of you want to be in-person and in-residence,” President Melik Peter Khoury said in an email to students. “When conditions allow, we will return to in-person instruction and until that time we are offering plans for all our students, in all majors, to follow their academic passions and earn their Unity College degree.”

Campus shows off safety precautions

High Point University in North Carolina has shared photos of its extensive safety measures in announcing its plans to reopen for the fall semester. Visual clues will be prominent throughout campus, reminding students to remain six feet apart at all times.

All High Point University students and staff will complete a self-health assessment upon returning to campus. (Photo: High Point University)
All High Point University students and staff will complete a self-health assessment upon returning to campus. (Photo: High Point University)

Among other safety measures, High Point is implementing technology that will show students wait times at the university’s 15 dining locations, which will operate at half capacity. Students can also order meals to pick up with mobile devices.

All students and staff will also be strongly encouraged to complete a self-health assessment within 24 hours of returning to campus.

UB’s coronavirus page offers complete coverage of the impacts on higher ed.

Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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