Oct 2, 2020 | By Ellie Gober | Illustration by Bibi Powers
Colorado College recently announced that it was decreasing the student population, and that students not approved to be on campus had to leave by Sept. 20. They also stated that they would issue a refund of room and board for students not living on campus. The college set a housing decision deadline for Sept. 14, 2020. This was necessary so the college could adjust the cost of living for students depending on their housing arrangements.
Further, the college asked that, “Students who are relocating to off-campus apartments in Colorado Springs not owned or leased by Colorado College must provide an address and, if a financial aid recipient, a copy of their lease to the college,” for help paying rent in place of room costs. Despite the help offered, many students feel that Colorado College is putting them in uncertain situations.
Those most affected by the recent announcement are students receiving financial aid and loans. Students who are receiving the Colorado College grant for the school year will only be provided a $594 refund out of the $6696 cost of meals and housing for the semester. This means that $6102 is taken out of their financial aid grant from the school.
“The charges will be removed and there will be financial aid that is removed as well. Not the full cost of meals and housing ($6696), but a substantial portion of it ($6102),” said Libby Fletcher from the Financial Aid Office.
The school is also allowing students with great need to stay on campus, but not every student on financial aid is able to stay. As of now, Shannon Amundson, the Director of Financial Aid, estimates that there will be 50 percent capacity on campus this semester. This includes a mix of students who need to be on campus for financial reasons or class requirements.
Colorado College has established a committee to help distribute additional funds to students for expenses incurred due to COVID-19. “Any student can apply by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with a breakdown, and receipts if available, of any additional expenses they have incurred,” said Amundson.
As of 2019-2020, 47 percent of the student body received a grant of some sort, whether from the college or an outside source.
Jordan Fields ’24 appealed to stay on campus and had to draw CC’s attention not only to his financial situation, but also to the fact that being home would affect his health and academic success.
“My mother reached out because of the financial hardship, and the uncertainty of the appeal selection. I am genuinely concerned if students like myself have to worry about a multitude of factors such as safety in their academics. My current living situation is not suitable for academic work because the neighborhood has a high reputation for gun violence, an unfitting learning atmosphere, and high cases of coronavirus,” Fields said.
In an email Fields sent to the college, he outlined reasons why being sent home would put him, and others in similar situations, in a dangerous and unfit place for online learning.
Another first-year, who prefers to remain anonymous, stated that they were determined to not have enough need to appeal to live on campus, but that it was hard on them mentally.
“Being home has my parents feeding one more person, and I just have more stress. It is hard knowing that the school didn’t really refund financial aid kids. My student loans are a constant shadow over my mind, especially when I don’t have the structure that school provides.” This student said that they have a stable living situation, but the structure of school and having on-campus jobs was a blessing that was taken away when sent home by the college.
While CC administrators acted to protect the health of the CC community, there are students who have had added financial stress to their lives after CC decided to send students home. The planning and worry involved in financial hardship surrounding college tuition is already a national issue for many students, and CC is not an exception.