SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The COVID-19 outbreak forced the closure of college campuses around the globe, making it challenging for students to finish their spring semesters. While institutions reacted as rapidly as possible to get online lessons and virtual classes up and running, a plan to accommodate students far from home proved one of the biggest challenges. The outbreak is also having a financial impact on students and families, which has many reconsidering their plans for fall.
Bryan Gross, vice president for enrollment management and marketing at Western New England University (WNE), noted that they have seen a rise in inquiries from students and parents in western Massachusetts who are looking for a high quality, university education that is offered close to home.
“There is some trepidation about sending students too far away for their education as we deal with the COVID-19 outbreak and its eventual aftermath,” he said. “We’re talking to students now who may be reconsidering their plans for fall and want see how Western New England can let them stay local and still go far. During this time of great uncertainty, we can offer the best of both worlds.”
Knowing the financial difficulties many families are facing due to the shutdown, Western New England introduced measures to ease the burden on undergraduate and graduate students. For undergraduate summer classes, they have cut tuition by more than 50 percent, from $950 to $450 per credit.
“For high school students who may not feel fully prepared to start college in the fall due to the closing of schools, this provides a convenient way to get started, while simultaneously offering current students an affordable option to catch up on credits or accelerate their studies,” said Gross. Western New England is expanding its summer course offerings to serve more students. Courses are offered online in six-, eight-, and 12-week terms starting in May, June and July.
Also in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University is offering its Spring 2020 graduates who plan to continue their education two master’s courses free of charge when they enroll in a graduate program full time.
“Hopefully, this provides some consolation to graduating seniors who lost out on many of the traditional rites of passage associated with their final semester,” said Matthew Fox, executive director of graduate admissions. “With rising unemployment and an uncertain job market, for many students now is an ideal time to start a graduate degree.”
While live tours are currently suspended, prospective and transfer students can check out the WNE campus through a virtual online tour or by phone calls with representatives to talk about life on campus. The University held a virtual accepted students’ day on April 5, which is available for other new students to stream.
WNE is accepting applications for the fall 2020 semester on a rolling basis through August, and offers generous merit scholarships and financial aid packages for undergraduate study. Students can get more information, apply online and find other resources at wne.edu.
About Western New England University
Having just celebrated its Centennial, Western New England University is a private, independent, coeducational institution. Located on an attractive 215-acre suburban campus in Springfield, Massachusetts, Western New England serves 3,974 students, including 2,629 full-time undergraduate students. Undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs are offered through Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and the School of Law.