The Coronavirus Pandemic, has not been kind to Colleges and Universities across the country. Already in a financial fiasco, the Vermont State College system has been working with the legislature to get more funding.
A total of about $12.5 Million dollars will be received for the remainder of the 2020 Fiscal Year which ends on June 30th. “Like all colleges and universities we are facing significant increased costs because of COVID, so that will help alleviate those costs. But it doesn’t address the underlying financial issues,” says Vermont State Colleges Interim Chancellor, Sophie Zdatney.
Vermont State Colleges receive some of the smallest amount of funding from the State in the Country, and its no secret the VSC is feeling the repercussions. But as President Elaine Collins from Northern Vermont University tells me, there is a plan underway to bridge the gap until next year. “We have a committee that has been working these past few weeks to create a plan to ensure sustainability moving into the future. The plan right now is to provide NVU with a bridge funding opportunity so that we can get past this year, and move into next year.”
But even with students returning in the Fall, there are COVID related costs the schools will have to face. Chancellor Zdatney says that the main “challenge is the uncertainty, we just don’t know exactly what the Fall is going to look like. So if we’re able to have students back on campus, that’s obviously our goal, that’s what we want to have happen. But even so, there are going to be cost related, COVID related costs related to that between you know, testing, cleaning, and social distancing and adjusting classes and things like that.”
NVU has already rolled out what their schedule for the Fall will look like, students will start a week early on August 18th, and then will go straight through, until Thanksgiving, skipping their October break. President Collins says the University feels “that’s the safest option, for everyone, and it still gets in all the needed hours for students, and then after Thanksgiving break, gives them time to do their Finals in a remote fashion.”