- US universities began shifting to remote learning in light of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020.
- Some universities, like Harvard, are planning for another remote semester, while others, like Rice, expect to reopen campus with social distancing regulations in place.
- Here’s what the top 25 US colleges and universities have discussed for fall 2020 reopening plans so far.
- To inform our list, Business Insider used education research firm Quacquarelli Symonds’ first-ever US specific ranking of the best colleges and universities in 2020.
- Business Insider used Niche’s net price calculation for each school, which is the average cost of tuition after financial aid reported by each college in 2019.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
University of Texas at Austin
Location: Austin, Texas
Net price: $US14,156
COVID-19 updates: A June 29 update shared that the fall semester will begin on campus on August 26 with several new regulations, like that a classroom can’t be more than 40% full. After that, all courses will be conducted remotely.
A June 8 update shared that all students and faculty will be required to wear a face mask or covering inside buildings on campus and that the university is working on a plan for voluntary coronavirus testing for students.
A previous update confirmed that remote coursework will be available.
University of Washington
Location: Seattle, Washington
Net price: $US9,765
COVID-19 updates:On July 22, the University of Washington shared an update stating that because of rising coronavirus cases, a good chunk of the coursework will likely be taught remotely. The school predicts that less than 10% of classes will be conducted in person for undergrads on the Seattle campus. The college said it will release an updated course schedule and solidified plans for coursework by August 7.
A month earlier, the university said that it will provide a combination of in-person and online coursework. The school will prioritise in-person coursework for hands-on classes, like studio, clinical, and lab courses.
Earlier in June, the university implemented a policy requiring people on campus to wear a face mask indoors and outdoors when social distancing isn’t possible.
Location: Washington, DC
Net price: $US27,420
COVID-19 updates:On July 6, Georgetown University released a tentative plan for its undergraduates that allows for 2,000 students to return to campus.
Most of these students will be the freshmen class of 2024, with a few exceptions, like Resident Assistants and students who can’t pursue remote coursework. Some classes will be online and others will be in-person. Students living off-campus will have a fully-remote schedule.
A June 18 update announced that the fall semester for the School of Continuing Studies will take place online. A previous update from earlier in the month shared that the university’s main campus is still working on a plan for the upcoming semester.
In a letter dated May 12 detailing the school’s financial response to the pandemic, Georgetown University President John DeGioia told the Georgetown community that the school will cut spending on new buildings and grounds, hold salary increases, and suspend contributions to retirement plans for the upcoming fiscal year. DeGioia also mentioned that 54 administrative employees volunteered to reduce their salaries for the upcoming fiscal year.
Location: Houston, Texas
COVID-19 updates:In a July 17 update, the university shared that all undergraduates will be tested for the coronavirus upon arrival to campus and throughout the semester. Only 25 students can be in a classroom at a time. The school will enforce mask-wearing and social distancing. A week later, Rice released a letter saying that all students, remote and in-person, must sign an agreement to follow Rice’s coronavirus-era safety guidelines.
In May, Rice announced tentative plans to begin the fall semester in-person as planned on August 24. This decision is not final and will be reevaluated periodically throughout the summer. Most courses will be offered remotely as well. Rice plans to have a final decision made in July.
In a May 5 letter to graduate students, the university president David Leebron and Dr. Seiichi Matsuda, dean of graduate and postdoctoral studies, detailed a “cautiously optimistic” plan for reopening for in-person coursework in the fall. According to the letter, the semester will likely be shortened and international students will likely have additional flexibility for start dates.
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
COVID-19 updates: A July 21 update suggests that the university is gearing up for phase three of its reopening plan. In-person coursework will begin on September 2. The first students to return will be students of the BU Medical Campus, followed by students of the Charles River Campus.
A May 6 update suggested that Boston University began phase one of its reopening plan, which included resuming some on-campus research. The university also released a digital book with a detailed guide of the first phase. Boston University is planning both in-person and remote coursework for the fall semester, according to their website.
Location: Providence, Rhode Island
Net price: $US25,651
COVID-19 updates: On July 7, Brown University released its return to campus plan, which includes a three-term school year where students take turns being on campus. Juniors and seniors will be on campus in the fall and spring, freshmen will be there in spring and summer, and sophomores will be on campus for all semesters if public health conditions allow.
Final exams will be conducted remotely for everyone, and all students will have the option to learn remotely. Students will get three face masks from the university that they will be required to wear when they can’t social distance, including in classrooms.
In May, the university announced the gradual reopening of some summer on-campus activities in conjunction with the state of Rhode Island’s reopening plan. This is beginning with only approved laboratory-based research.
The California Institute of Technology
Location: Pasadena, California
Net price: $US24,466
COVID-19updates: The California Institute of Technology (CalTech) announced on July 14 that the fall semester will include a combination of in-person and remote coursework. Classes that require in-person work will take place on campus and the rest will be online. After Thanksgiving break, all students will finish their coursework remotely. When it comes to on-campus housing, only one person can live in each room. Students with in-person coursework will be prioritised for returning to campus.
University of Michigan
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Net price: $US16,408
COVID-19 updates: On July 15, the university announced that everyone has to wear a facemask while on campus.
The University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel emailed a video to the campus community on June 22 announcing that the fall semester will include in-person and remote coursework with measures to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, like wearing face masks and social distancing. The university also launched a website dedicated to fall reopening plans.
Carnegie Mellon University
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Net price: $US30,847
COVID-19 updates: According to the university website, Carnegie Mellon’s fall semester will include a combination of in-person and remote coursework, and it will begin on August 31 as scheduled. Students travelling to campus from outside of Southwestern Pennsylvania must check their health every day for two weeks before joining classes in-person, the school announced on July 9.
Location: Evanston, Illinois
Net price: $US26,099
COVID-19 updates: A June update shared that Northwestern University is working on a plan to offer some coursework on campus. Each department will have its own plan, and the fall course schedule will state whether each course includes in-person coursework.
A May 22 update details plans for a phased return to campus, starting with research facilities.
A May 11 update about the financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic suggests that the university hopes to reopen the campus in phases for the fall 2020 semester. The update also shared that the university expects a $US90 million shortfall for the 2020 fiscal year.
The University of Southern California
Location: Los Angeles
Net price: $US32,892
COVID-19 updates:On July 8, the University of Southern California (USC) announced that many courses will take place both in-person and online.
In a May 7 update, USC announced Project Restart – a task force of faculty, staff, and students dedicated to planning the reopening of campus. They hope to announce much an update on the fall 2020 semester plan in June.
Johns Hopkins University
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Net price: $US27,868
COVID-19 updates: Johns Hopkins University released a June 30 update detailing its reopening plan. Classes will begin on August 31 as scheduled. While some classes will only be offered in-person, most will be offered both in-person and online. Students in classrooms will be spaced out, and some classes may meet at nights and on weekends. First-year students will each get their own dorm room, and the school will provide off-campus housing for other students wanting to live on campus, complete with transportation to campus and Resident Assistants.
Location: Durham, North Carolina
Net price: $US22,011
COVID-19 updates: Duke University President Vincent Price announced on June 30 that the school is planning for both in-person and online coursework in the fall with safety measures like coronavirus testing and social distancing, Duke Today reported. The plan could be adjusted based on public health information.
The University of Chicago
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Net price: $US34,834
COVID-19 updates:In a June 30 update, the University of Chicago announced that it plans to begin the semester on September 29 with both in-person and online coursework. In-person coursework will end before Thanksgiving, and only 40% of campus housing will be available so everyone can have their own room.
New York University (NYU)
Location: New York
COVID-19 updates: In a June 19 update, New York University (NYU) announced that it will provide a combination of in-person and remote coursework in the fall with safety measures like required face coverings and coronavirus testing and tracing.
Earlier in June, NYU announced that all summer coursework is remote and that a phased reopening of research facilities would begin on June 8.
Location: Ithaca, New York
Net price: $US31,449
COVID-19 updates: In a June 30 update, Cornell University President Martha Pollack shared that the campus would reopen for in-person coursework on September 2 until Thanksgiving break. After Thanksgiving, students will finish the semester online, and the spring semester will begin on February 9.
Pollack said that in-person coursework will be safer for students than online coursework, according to a study led by Operations Research and Information Engineering Professor Peter Frazier. Many students said they planned to return to Ithaca for online coursework in surveys from Cornell, and being on campus will allow for coronavirus testing and regulations, Pollack wrote.
Remote coursework will also be available for students who cannot return to campus.
Location: Princeton, New Jersey
Net price: $US16,302
COVID-19 updates:On July 6, Princeton University President Chris Eisgruber told the community that campus will reopen to freshmen and juniors in the fall, while sophomores and seniors will learn remotely. Most coursework, even for students living on campus, will take place virtually.
The University of Pennsylvania
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Net price: $US24,539
COVID-19 updates: On June 8, the University of Pennsylvania began phase 1 of resuming research.
In a coronavirus update on the University of Pennsylvania website dated April 27, the university said it plans to have a combination of remote and in-person courses in fall 2020.
Location: New Haven, Connecticut
Net price: $US18,053
COVID-19 updates: On July 17, the university announced that students travelling back to campus from states with increasing coronavirus cases must quarantine for two weeks.
Earlier in July, Yale University announced that most classes will be held remotely, aside from studio and lab classes. Juniors and seniors will be able to live on campus. In the fall, freshmen will have the option to live at Yale as well, and in the spring, sophomores will.
In a May 28 update, Yale University announced that the fall semester will run from August 31 to December 4.
In a letter to the Yale community dated earlier in May, Provost Scott Strobel announced that on-campus research facilities will reopen in phases starting in June.
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Location: Los Angeles
COVID-19 updates: The University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) released a June 15 update with anticipated plans for the fall semester. Up to 20% of courses will take place in-person or with some remote course work. There will be coronavirus regulations too, like fewer students will be able to live on campus and those who do will have daily symptom checks.
5. Columbia University
Location: New York City
Net price: $US22,824
COVID-19 updates:In early July, Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger announced a tentative reopening plan. The school will reopen in the fall for a three-term year, including fall, spring, and summer semesters. There will be both in-person and online coursework, and about 60% of undergrads can live on campus at a time. Freshmen and sophomores can live on campus in the fall, followed by juniors and seniors in the spring. Everyone will be required to wear masks and social distance on campus.
University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley)
Location: Berkeley, California
COVID-19 updates:On July 21, the University of California in Berkeley (UC Berkeley) announced that the semester will begin remotely for everyone because of increasing coronavirus cases. At the same time, the school said it intends to implement in-person coursework when it’s safer.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Net price: $US22,230
COVID-19 updates:On July 7, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced that seniors and students who can’t learn effectively from elsewhere will be able to return to campus in the fall.
In a June 17 update, MIT released tentative plans for the fall semester. Most coursework will take place online and only a few students will be able to live on campus so everyone can have their own room. The semester also may begin around September 1, a week earlier than initially scheduled. All in-person coursework will end by Thanksgiving.
Location: Stanford, California
Net price: $US16,562
COVID-19 updates: A June 29 update provided a schedule for returning students with four semesters each year. In the fall and summer semesters, freshman, sophomores will live on campus, and in the winter and spring semesters, juniors and seniors will.
A June 3 update outlined a developing plan for the 2020-2021 academic year. The plan is subject to change based on the fluctuating public health situation and will likely not be finalised until late summer.
The plan outlines several changes including that student housing will be limited to provide students with private sleeping spaces. Only half the undergraduate class will return to Stanford in the fall quarter, while the other half learns remotely, and in the spring the remote students and on-campus students will switch.
Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Net price: $US17,030
COVID-19 updates:Harvard University announced that all coursework will take place online in the fall on July 6. Additionally, the university plans for 40% of undergraduates, including freshmen and students without a suitable home learning environment, to return to campus in the fall. Those living on campus will have their own bedrooms and shared bathrooms.
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