As many schools make the decision to remain online this fall, colleges are faced with the challenge of convincing students to stay enrolled even while classes will be exclusively online. Many freshmen in particular may feel inclined to defer admission if they do not  already have connections on campus or a need to return quickly.

Many students are facing a difficult decision given the fact that they may be paying for the same amount for a completely different experience. Colleges across California and beyond are now giving away free merchandise, cutting tuition and fees, or even making deadlines more flexible to accommodate the unprecedented situation of these students. 

The policy of colleges across the state is likely going to vary based on the success of COVID prevention in that county, but many colleges will be forced to hold most (if not all) instruction online. The CDC has issued guidance on what precautions colleges should take before holding classes.

The document explains that the coronavirus responses will vary by city and county, but as a general rule, in-person contact should be avoided whenever possible and kept to a minimum length in order to slow the spread of the virus.

Given these changes to academic and general campus life, many schools are working hard to incentivize students to continue to enroll by providing deadline flexibility and various discounts and refunds. 

An EdSource article explained about the University of California system, “Universities and colleges say that students who left their dorms can receive prorated refunds for their housing and food plans, along with rebates for campus recreation and parking fees in some cases.”

The state of California and the University systems within, have made it extremely clear that returns to instruction will continue to be governed by science and the opinions of local and state health officials. 

As William Ton explained when asked about starting college in times of COVID, “Of course this (school closure) is a disappointment, as I may not get to move into a dorm and begin the typical college experience, however I am hopeful this will make us stronger in the future.” 

While college, like most aspects of life in 2020, may not be what anyone expected, university students and staff are hard at work to ensure the transition is safe and accessible to all.