The Possibility of Online College in The Fall

By Angelo Aliotta and Michael Joyce

The Coronavirus pandemic has schools being shut down all across the country. Almost all the schools in the U.S. have been shut down for the rest of the academic year for school. This includes colleges. Some colleges have closed earlier than public schools in the reaction to the pandemic’s spread.

No one really knows for sure how long this pandemic will last nor how much longer people will be in quarantine. Some doctors say only until summer while others say it could last up to two years. No one knows for sure and colleges have given online college in the fall some thought.

The problem really turns up for colleges when tuition and housing money comes into play. Some students for all kinds of colleges and universities have been upset at being online for all of their work and that the classes are not the same and don’t provide as much as actual classes. Complaints keep rolling in and students are unsure if they want to pay for another college semester that is online.

Students will for sure not be happy if the decision goes into action. Especially for the students who are graduating college and have their last semester in the fall. Many students who are due to graduate in december seem to be thinking of ways to take the fall semester off and come back and finish their last semester when they have more of a chance to actually return to campus in person in the spring. The college experience consists of so much more than classes, it is an experience that incorporates making meaningful relationships with friends and professors. It means taking part in sports and extracurricular activities and the list goes on and on. All of these things are something you can only get from being on a college campus.

“Perhaps I am still learning and fulfilling my areas of study, but every part of what I love about college has been taken away” said Grayce Marquis, a student at university of Pittsburgh.

Ryan Sessoms, a student at the University of North Florida says, “Fall is my last semester with all of my hard work I have put in, I’d prefer to walk across the stage and wrap up some last minute connections on campus as well. If it’s going to be online at the same tuition price, Then I’ll just wait for the spring semester.”

Many of these students feel that if the universities could discount tuition or increase scholarships it may make more sense for them. As noted above, the problem with that is that most colleges are in financial crisis and they need the money from the students tuition and housing. It’s a lose-lose situation. The reality is no one knows what the fall semester will look like, said Terry Hartle, a senior vice president for the American Council on Education, a national trade group of universities.

“The coronavirus will determine when colleges and universities can reopen,” he said. “All colleges and universities want to open normally, but no college knows if it can.”