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Few Colleges Publicly Posting Fall Plans

According to a recent survey by education technology company Cengage, nearly nine in 10 colleges and universities (86 percent) haven't yet announced plans for the fall semester. That count came through tracking done by The Chronicle of Higher Education of publicly listed plans on campus websites, faculty surveys and public data pulled from IPEDS and published as of June 11, 2020. As a result, some two-thirds of students (62 percent) said they don't know what their schools plan to do in the fall.

The uncertainty is greater for students at two-year schools than four-year schools. While 55 percent of four-year school students said they know what institutional plans are for the fall, just 12 percent of two-year students said the same.

Among the colleges and universities that have disclosed fall plans, 68 percent said they intend to run in-person classes. Another 20 percent said they're planning online or hybrid models or "considering a range of scenarios." The rest said they're "waiting to decide."

Instructors aren't towing the party line, however. Just 18 percent of faculty said they believed they'd be holding classes entirely in-person. Seventy percent expected to be doing all or some of their programs online.

"There is still a lot uncertainty about what 'back to school' will look like, but one of the things we do know is America's higher education system must be more prepared this fall to handle virtual learning than they were in March," said Michael Hansen, CEO of Cengage, in a statement. "Whether online or in-person, institutions should focus on making learning more flexible for the needs of their students and the needs of the times."

The results are shared in an infographic published on the Cengage website.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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