How the Pandemic is Affecting Colleges

Canisius College. March 3, 2020 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)
Photo credit Canisius College. March 3, 2020 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

Buffalo, NY (WBEN)  Will life for college students be changed for the forseeable future?  Will students be studying on campus this fall semester? There are more questions than finite answers for colleges and universities trying to navigate the hurdles being posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

As the pandemic continues to unfold, the area's colleges and colleged and universities nationwide, are preparing to welcome students, while hoping to get classes going on-campus in the fall.

At D'Youville College, commitments from freshmen have been strong. "We've had very early upticks, in particular in some areas that are normally not huge majors, like global studies and sociology," says president Dr. Lorrie Clemo. "Of course, we have very healthy classes coming in, which could be up higher because of the COVID crisis, and those are in nursing and pharmacy." 

There's also a Summer of Learning initiative to help students continue progressing with their education during summer.  Students will receive a 20% discount off 2020 undergraduate and graduate rates for select online courses to stay on-track or get ahead during the summer.

“D’Youville’s Summer Session Courses will be offered exclusively online. Students can study with our dynamic faculty, enjoy small classes, catch up on credits, or finish degrees,” says Clemo. “We understand that Spring 2020 was challenging for high school and college students everywhere. That is why D’Youville is offering more than 350 summer courses, both graduate and undergraduate, to help students rebound and unleash their true potential.”

When it comes to freshmen commitments at Canisius College, "We really don't know, and that's what's happening at most colleges public and private, because they don't know what to make of the decisoin making process of students and their parents in the wake of the pandemic," says president John Hurley. "We're coming off an excellent recruiting class last year, and before the pandemic we were trending similar to last year, but now there's so much up in the air now."

Hurley says most schools have moved their deposit dates to June 1st, creating more uncertainty as to what will happen. "Because we've lost on campus recruiting, we've lost some big deposit days even though we were trending in the right direction," adds Hurley.

Could students be looking at a gap year, passing on school this fall? "I think there are students thinking about all options right now," says Hurley. "I'm hoping we'll see some significant financial aid from the federal government to afford to continue their education."

Will classes be held on campus in the fall? "We are hoping that is the case, because that is an important part of the Canisius brand. The face to face instruction, the small classes, the personal interaction, clubs and activities and everything you learn living in a residence hall," says Hurley. "We sincerely hope we can get a hold of this pandemic and we can be cleared to operate."