Rutgers University announced on Monday that most classes this fall will be conducted remotely due to the continued uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic.

University President Jonathan Holloway in making the announcement said factors included the need to maintain social distancing and the increase in positive test results across the country and the decision was made in consultation with public health experts as well as school leaders.

The exception to students learning remotely are a limited number of courses in which access to campus facilities is a priority like those in the arts, lab or field work and clinical instruction.

Among other plans for the fall semester, on-campus housing will be very limited, all campus events are cancelled and decisions regarding athletics (including football) will come later from state officials and athletic conferences like the Big Ten.

With this said Rutgers is not the first college/university to announce that fall learning will be conducted online.  Harvard, Georgetown, The University of Southern California and Yale are among those whose plans are similar to Rutgers.  Many other schools are opting for a combination of virtual and in-class learning while others will likely make decisions in the next couple of weeks.  Many like RU will offer limited on-campus housing.

I honestly don’t know how schools are handling tuition and housing but the bottom line is students (and their families) should not have to pay the same amount if their only option is virtual learning.  When my daughter was a senior at Penn State she took a couple of online classes and I could not understand why I was paying the same cost-per-credit for a class she could share with several friends.

I understand these times are quite different but you can’t convince me that virtual learning does not save money for colleges and universities who for the most part overcharge students for the cost of an education and a degree.

You could argue that among the real benefits of college is the experience you get from living and learning in a campus environment and having to grow up without your parents there to take care of your daily needs.

However there is just no logic, especially for incoming freshman, to go into debt to take classes while in your bedroom with mom still doing your laundry and making your meals.


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