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Coronavirus Impact: Some Colleges Acknowledge Financial Challenges, Say They're Lowering Tuition Costs For 2021

MADISON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- The college experience has changed for most people due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving some families questioning the value of a higher education under the circumstances.

As CBS2's Meg Baker reported Wednesday, some schools are lowering costs.

Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey announced it is dropping the cost of tuition by $10,000 next school year, acknowledging that most students are already financially challenged and trying to incentivize them to come back.

"When you layer on the pandemic and all the struggles that families are now experiencing," FDU President Christopher Capuano said.

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Enrollment is at 98%, with the majority of classes virtual. But with limited kids on campus, it's a completely different college experience than most people signed up for.


For this reason, college adviser Christopher Rim says many students he works with are taking a year off, otherwise known as a gap year.

"There's a whole social aspect of going to college that's integral, you know, of the entire college experience, but students are missing out on it," Rim said.

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But for those who are paying the high price to take courses from home, he says the value of that education is still there if you put the work in.

FDU's president agrees.

"If you look at labor statistics it's still pretty clear that someone with a college degree has a much better chance of getting a job, and a better paying job, than someone who does not have one, so the pandemic has not changed that," Capuano said.


Financial expert Paul Oster offered a different take.

"Let's be honest, they're not getting the bang for their buck or their parents are certainly getting the bang for their buck when you talk about student loans," Oster said.

Oster said take this time to really think about why you are going to college. He advises starting at a less expensive community college, and then transferring the credits to a four-year school.

State education officials say enrollment at community colleges is off more than 13%. Some say it's because those students have been the hardest hit during the pandemic.

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