Are students’ school lives suffering due to the coronavirus pandemic?

Are students receiving the education they want and are paying for? Is living on campus worth it anymore? Will students decide to stay living at their “home away from home” schools or will they decide to transfer to more local schools to be able to commute each day?

Image portraying what in person classes look like on a college campus during a pandemic. “200630-N-MC499-0090” by United States Naval Academy Photo Archive is marked with CC PDM 1.0.

The coronavirus pandemic is leaving colleges with more questions than answers.

Isaiah Saddler, sophomore English major and a member of Cabrini’s Resident Life, believes students may start to consider transferring to more local schools. “If they’re going to commute, they’d be better off getting a similar education for less,” Saddler said.

As a resident assistant for Woodcrest Residential Hall, Saddler said it was revealed to him that many students hadn’t moved back on campus and they will only do so if they have hybrid or hyflex classes. “There is a financial aspect that students consider; if I don’t have any in-person classes there is no need to spend an extra $10,000 to $12,000 unless you’re really invested in an environment heavily enforcing social distancing,” Saddler said. “The social life on campus is not worth any extra money unless necessary.”

As a current student as well, he shared his student view he has on the matter. Saddler explained how he doesn’t feel like he is learning much from online classes. “Everything feels rushed and forced. I remember sitting in person and receiving the information with ease and it felt like I was walking away with new knowledge. Virtual learning lacks in so many areas for a lot of students and this is a serious issue,” Saddler said.

This image portrays a students setting while learning virtually. “Learning Space” by shareski is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

He went on to talk about how even though there are only a few benefits; they are some when it comes to on living on campus. Saddler explained how it is personally easier for him to focus better on campus verse off, and he likes being able to be closer to resources, such as the library, and some professors.

Malik Bailey, sophomore psychology major, is one of the many students who decided to live on campus during these times.

When asked why Bailey made that choice over commuting he explained how he was a commuter at the beginning of this semester, but when he heard Cabrini basketball was going to start up, he decided to move back on. He described how having to commute four days a week from New Jersey to Pennsylvania wouldn’t be in his best interest.

Bailey said while living on campus he has noticed a decrease in the number of students who live there and believes if students have the opportunity to rather “stay home and save money” they will due to the cost of Cabrini.

Although only living on campus for his sport, Bailey said he does feel comfortable living on campus because everyone is following proper social distancing, wearing masks, and there are hand sanitizer stations everywhere on campus if needed.

Bailey said despite not comprehending as much as he would like to since he learns better in a classroom, he is getting by well in his classes. He said the virus doesn’t change his opinion on what school he will attend because “covid is everywhere despite where you go. You just have to stay safe and be smart.”

Brooke Conlin, sophomore marketing major, shared her feelings on being a resident on Cabrini ‘s campus as well.

Conlin said she said she feels very comfortable living on campus and believes they are doing everything they need to do to keep their students and faculty safe. She said she doesn’t see the difference in going to a school close verses one that is far away from home since the virus is everywhere. “I would rather still be able to live at school and have some type of college experience if possible,” Conlin said.

Even though her choice to live on campus was an easy decision for her, she thinks many other students didn’t make the same choice because they don’t feel they need to live on campus while having online schooling. “They feel as though they should just live at home because if not, they would be in their dorms all day on their classes,” Conlin said.

Conlin talked about how fortunate she was to have three in person classes that made it worth it for her to live on campus otherwise she would be looking at a 50-minute trip to school on days she would have to commute.

Overall, Conlin feels that her “Education is 100% suffering in virtual learning.” She said sometimes she goes through classes where she doesn’t talk to her professor at all. Conlin believes she is neither benefiting nor learning anything she wants to with virtual classes.

According to an article on inside highered, experts say colleges need to improve transfers now before the uncertainty from the coronavirus pandemic gets worse. With the decrease in high school enrollment before the virus hit, came the enrollment gap in four-year institutions. Experts say these colleges needed transfers from two-year institutions before the pandemic happened to stay afloat.

If the pandemic continues in the direction it is in, will these institutions be able to keep their enrollment up or will students soon decide it isn’t worth it to pay for an education they can receive somewhere else that is cheaper and closer to home?