COVID may present opportunity for higher education to refocus

Thursday, June 25, 2020
 | 
Bob Kellogg (OneNewsNow.com)

books with moneyIn light of the coronavirus pandemic, some colleges and universities that typically implement tuition hikes every year are suddenly backing away from increases.

According to EducationDive.com, some college leaders are foregoing planned tuition increases because of the financial chaos caused by the response to COVID-19. One of the first, says that report, was the ten-campus University of California System – then came others like Ohio Wesleyan University, Bucknell University, and William & Mary College.

Mary Clare Amselem of The Heritage Foundation says, typically, tuition increases don't go for enhancing academics but toward athletic facilities, increasing the number of dorm rooms, and so forth.

Amselem

"So, I think this is a unique moment for universities to refocus on the reason students go to college, which is to get an education that will enable them to enter the workforce," says the education policy analyst.

The UC System reportedly was considering a nearly 5% tuition hike over last year, and Ohio Wesleyan decided to nix its planned 3.5% increase. William & Mary had scheduled a 3% tuition markup for incoming in-state undergraduates – but that, too, went by the wayside.

While students and their families stand to benefit from decisions to back away from tuition increases, Amselem fears that this situation will only encourage policymakers to argue for more federal funds.

"But as we know, history has shown that more federal money only encourages colleges and universities to raise their tuition prices," she adds.

EducationDive.com points out that colleges are also under pressure from students who are protesting against burdensome increases and calling for schools to keep tuition flat.

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