Just prior to student arrival, a top UNC official said- "Our biggest challenge is managing our anxieties."
Just as quickly as students arrived on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus to move into their dorms and begin the semester, 11 Covid-19 clusters quickly formed. Within a week, UNC shut down all live classes in response to nearly 1,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases prompting students to move off-campus or return home.
In reference to the quote above, a great colleague of mine, Leah Zimmerman, told me once that "words are hard to formulate under stress or fear."
At the core of a college leader's anxiety rests the fear of losing students and their tuition fees to online studies versus bringing students on campus under a false belief of safety but getting their tuition dollars.
I've said all along that colleges just need to get the students on campus for one day for setting-the-hook into the money. So far, most have elected to grab the money.
With mounting student test-positive cases around the country, just about 30,000 as of now, it's the students and their parents who are left scrambling and disenchanted.
In just the last few days-
Colorado College put 150 arriving freshmen students into isolation-quarantine due to one person testing positive.
Ohio State suspended 228 students for partying; several other colleges have incurred similar suspensions.
Marist College locked down its primary freshmen dorm due to the positive test of a party-goer.
Michigan State canceled all of their campus activities... oh, just two days after tuition fees were due.
Here are my three top takeaways so far with many more colleges yet to have their students arrive.
1. There are no surprises here; college students will party without taking necessary precautions. You just can't legislate against it and believe it will work. Everyone knew this was coming. But suspensions of students? That's a harsh reality and a lifetime black-eye!
2. There are no refunds coming either; Colleges have implemented hardline disclaimers preventing tuition refund-claims for compromised study arrangements. Student petitions citing "a drop in the value-proposition" are popping up on college campuses demanding refunds, but still falling on the deaf-ears of college officials.
3. This shows how desperate colleges are to get our money; they want to cite their expenses as justification for maintaining their fee structure and for keeping the money. I thought in business we needed to prove our worth, not prove our cost. Isn't this, the value-proposition, being taught in Business school? Hmmm...
You see, Bernie Madoff defrauded clients of approximately $65 Billion. With an estimated industry value of $250 Billion per semester of college, I figure colleges, with all the compromised experiences in place, are worth at best half of it, maybe $125B...but they will keep all of it.
My math tells me that families of college students will be defrauded of $125B, double that of Bernie Madoff. It's the greatest heist since Bernie Madoff, and I'll leave it at that.
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Stay tuned for a big announcement coming soon!