But tuition decreases and additional aid aren’t the norm.
“If I had to make bets, I would say a lot of colleges will be (freezing tuition) until they get a better sense of the economy,” says Arun Ponnusamy, chief academic officer at the college admissions and application counseling company Collegewise. “But there will be other colleges that say, ‘We need money to run this school.’”
That may be happening already. George Mason University in Virginia approved a tuition increase of $450. The University of Michigan approved a 1.9% tuition increase. Both schools are planning a mix of online and in-person instruction.
MEALS AND HOUSING REFUNDS LIKELY
Many colleges aren’t publicizing their shutdown contingency plans — or how refunds will work. But students can look to how their school handled refunds in the spring to gauge how fall might play out.
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University gave refunds for on-campus housing and meal plans, says William Hudson Jr., the school’s vice president for student affairs. If the campus has to shut down this fall, Hudson says the refund structure “would probably be the same.”
Other colleges also offered direct refunds for students. For example, Temple University automatically deposited partial refunds for room and board in students’ bank accounts. The University of North Carolina Wilmington gave prorated refunds for room and board.
But some colleges opted for account credit instead:
— The University of Arkansas refunded about 20% of room and board costs to student accounts. They haven’t announced an official plan in case of a fall shutdown, but staff members expect it’ll be the same.