Kansas City's smaller colleges could benefit amid pandemic
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City's smaller colleges and universities say their size could benefit them amid the coronavirus pandemic, unlike many other schools that have been forced to make cuts.
Several Missouri and Kansas colleges believe they could be an attractive option this fall for students who want to continue their education but need to save money or want to avoid overcrowded classrooms, KCUR-FM reported.
Donnelly College in Kansas City, for example, isn't worried about having 25 or 30 students in the classroom because classes are already smaller than that, according to Monsignor Stuart Swetland.
“We have small class sizes because pedagogically it's best for our students, but we may even make them smaller if necessary next year,” he said, noting that there will probably be a mix of in-person instruction and remote classes to accommodate professors who may be high-risk for COVID-19.
College officials and administrators, however, expect students are likely reluctant to pay for in-person instruction, uncertain if the pandemic and stay-at-home orders will disrupt the fall semester as well. They also worry the pandemic may have put college out of reach for low-income students.
To hep students struggling financially, schools such as the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences have frozen tuition.
“What we’re facing is potentially a threat to our talent pool as a nation. When these students can’t go to college for financial reasons, they very often don’t ever go to college,” said Elizabeth MacLeod Walls, President at William Jewell College, where students will be able to request a single room, at no additional charge, if they aren't comfortable sharing a dorm.
Metropolitan Community Colleges Chancellor Kimberly Beatty expects many students trying to save money are likely to enroll at one of her system's five campuses. Both Missouri and Kansas community colleges offer a core curriculum that can transfer to four-year universities.
"A lot of the conversations have focused on whether students are going to return to the four-year schools. I think that may be an opportunity (for community colleges)," Beatty said. “We are a local, affordable option for students who still have general education courses to take.”