Across the country, college campuses have become ghost towns. Students and professors are hunkered down inside, teaching and learning online. University administrators are tabulating the financial costs of the Covid-19 pandemic, which already exceed the CARES Act’s support for higher education.
The toll of this pandemic is high and will continue to rise. But another crisis looms for students, higher education and the economy if colleges and universities cannot reopen their campuses in the fall.
As amazing as videoconferencing technology has become, students face financial, practical and psychological barriers as they try to learn remotely. This is especially true for lower-income students who may not have reliable internet access or private spaces in which to study. If they can’t come back to campus, some students may choose — or be forced by circumstances — to forgo starting college or delay completing their degrees.