The coronavirus pandemic has made a huge impact on universities and colleges. All the institutions had to transform in-person classes to an online format. The pandemic caused changes in every aspect of the higher education system, starting from admissions to university sport events.
The universities had to close their campuses and altered their plans concerning the next academic semester. Nearly 60% of colleges are planning for in-person education with social distancing. Some of them are Arizona State University, the University of North Carolina, and the University of Alabama. Some universities are going to adopt a hybrid model. It means that they will mix in-person and online studying. And roughly 9% of institutions will operate online-only in the next semester.
Also, the higher education system faces problems with the quality of online instruction. Some studies show that the academic performance of students suffers significantly in online courses. So institutions need to make additional effort to organize the studying process remotely. Online learning means that there is a high risk of a dramatic drop in academic achievements. And that is why some universities even decided to change the grading system. Instead of standard grades students will get only pass or fail marks.
Obviously, universities have faced some financial challenges. Because of the coronavirus outbreak, colleges have a lot of unexpected expenses. For example, they need to spend money on refunds to students that don’t live on campuses anymore. Moreover, institutions have increased costs related to technology as they switched to online courses. Another reason for financial losses is that most study abroad programs were closed. In addition, the number of international students has significantly decreased. Most foreign students can’t come back to the USA to finish their studies. The biggest problem is that nobody knows how long this situation will last. The US higher education system is experiencing an economic downturn.
Unfortunately, the application process has also become much more difficult. Most universities have made some changes to the admission requirements and the process has become more complicated. Another problem is that the general number of applications is going down as a lot of students are no longer able to afford tuition fees due to financial issues.
As the current situation in the higher education system is very problematic, some prompt actions must be taken to resolve existing problems. Due to the fact that coronavirus spreads extremely quickly, institutions are taking measures to prevent the spread of the disease. They instruct students concerning hygiene protocols, self-isolation, and some other safety rules. They also do their best to maximize online learning and make it effective. The higher education system needs to adjust its programs to remote learning and keep access to education for all students.
So the COVID-19 pandemic has numerous effects on different aspects of the higher education system. It made institutions absolutely reimagine the learning experience. But still creating a new model of learning that is based on technologies can be beneficial for higher education.