On April 24, Dr. Foster addressed questions about spring tuition refunds, plans for fall operations, and the distribution of federal emergency grants to students:
Spring 2020 Tuition
We continue to receive questions about whether TCNJ will be adjusting spring 2020 tuition due to the disruption from coronavirus. We will not. Let me elaborate.
As is the case at most public institutions, TCNJ tuition levels are highly discounted from the actual costs of education. In-state tuition reflects an additional discount, which the State of New Jersey offsets in small part with an annual appropriation. (Since March the state has held back 50 percent of this anticipated revenue.) As announced, the college is refunding $13.4 million in prorated room and board charges for residential students who were obligated to leave campus in mid-March.
Despite the closing of the campus, TCNJ continues to provide education and academic support to students. The offerings constitute thousands of courses now delivered remotely by TCNJ professors and an array of support services, including tutoring, supplemental instruction, counseling, advising, mentoring, career services, and telehealth, among others. Costs associated with these offerings remain. We believe that the academic credits earned, the ability to make progress toward degrees, and the opportunities for academic and social support carry value well in excess of tuition revenues, even with the virus-driven temporary changes to educational delivery.
Fall 2020 Operations.
Many wish to know when TCNJ will make the decision about whether fall 2020 is “online” or “on-ground.” The answer, reflecting several of the six guideposts, is that we will wait as long as possible to make a final determination, anticipated in June. This timetable provides time to follow the progression of the coronavirus, understand better the impact and imperatives of social distancing, and prepare accordingly for the fall semester.
I should say that it remains our fervent hope that we will be back on campus in some fashion in the fall. The determination depends on health and safety factors, including our ability to ensure safety through disinfection and social distancing. We will no doubt call upon everyone’s deepest wells of commitment and creativity to thrive in the months to come.
Federal Emergency Grants for Students
Earlier this week we received final authorization and funding to disburse $2.7 million in federal emergency grants to students. By early next week students will receive notice about how to apply for this support via a simple form that helps us understand your circumstances and needs. The federal government has clarified that funds are intended for the “exclusive purpose of providing emergency financial aid grants to students for their expenses related to the disruption of campus operations: food, housing, course materials/technology, healthcare, and childcare.”
I ask all members of the TCNJ community to please direct notice of this aid to students with needs. Our overarching goal is to enable students to continue their education at TCNJ despite the coronavirus impact.