Jun 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus cramps the college experience

Illustration of two desks surrounded by colorful shapes.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Today's college students won't have a normal college experience — one with classes, graduations, internships and campus love.

Where it stands: Colleges' decisions about openings and closing are just as inconsistent as school districts', but with different stakes and a lot more money on the line.

The big picture: Some students get to go back to campus in the fall, and some don't.

  • It's complicated, and it could all change at any time.
  • Generational spokesman and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday released complex guidelines that largely leave it up to schools whether to open their campuses or not.
  • Some schools are splitting the baby: Check out Boston University, where "arriving freshmen and returning undergraduate students will have a choice of attending in-person classes or taking classes remotely under a new hybrid teaching format the University is calling Learn from Anywhere (LfA)." 

Between the lines: There are all kinds of thorny issues at play here — from the complicated relationship between U.S. universities and foreign students, to the sad fact that Black kids are more likely to suffer if campuses are closed.

What they're saying: For young people in particular, it's important for us to focus on a "sense of the future, and to remind ourselves that we’re in this with other people," Joshua Morganstein of the American Psychiatric Association tells Axios.

My thought bubble: These are hard times. The normal instinct to speak up for what you believe in is intensified because of all that is going on, and it's hard to figure out what one's priorities should be.

  • But college stuff is fun. Please buy the team jersey, take classes that require you to read "Beowulf," and stay idealistic to make the world a better place for all of us.
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