A college abruptly closes, its former students out on the street—literally, in some cases. This may sound like a sad story, but let me assure you that it’s more than sad—it’s truly a tragedy.
Most students are not safe and secure in good jobs. They are living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to make ends meet. Many are single parents, some are unemployed or underemployed. They’re expected to study hard and maintain good grades on top of the other challenges they’re dealing with. Most students share a common purpose: they want to improve their lives. They deserve our service, support, and kindness.
For most students, attending college takes nearly all of their precious time. Tuition is increasingly expensive, as are rent, food, childcare, and transportation—and students have little money to begin with. When colleges are forcibly closed and students are thrown out, all that time and money is effectively wasted. For most, it will be impossible to continue their program at another college in the area—they will have to start all over or quit entirely. The degree to which their lives are disrupted almost can’t be overstated.
Adults who are settled into their careers and who have some life experience are more practiced at absorbing shock and setbacks. College students typically have not yet developed such advanced coping strategies. When their school is forcibly closed by the government, it’s not an inconvenience—it’s a catastrophe. These students set out to make their lives better by going to school, but their lives are now much worse.
I’m writing this to let you and others know why we have worked so hard to keep our colleges open. I want to emphasize to all—especially those responsible for government-enforced closures—how students are impacted. With our schools now closed, our students have enormously difficult roads ahead of them.