(Bloomberg) -- Williams College, the richest liberal arts school in the U.S., is reducing its cost by 15% for families on a one-time basis for the coming academic year and canceling sports competition and travel for the season as the coronavirus pandemic upends higher education.The changes come “in recognition of the extraordinary circumstances and of this academic year and the uncertainty we face in the year ahead,” the Williamstown, Massachusetts, school said in a statement Monday.Tuition, room and board for the 2020-2021 academic year will be $63,200. Family contributions for students receiving financial aid will also be reduced by 15%.“This reduction recognizes the fact that the pandemic and associated challenges are requiring us to cancel winter study as well as fall athletics competition and many student activities, among other opportunities that we usually encourage families to expect as part of their student’s education,” school President Maud Mandel said.
Schools across the U.S. are coping with uncertainty for the year that begins in August or September as it’s largely unclear whether in-person courses will be offered given the rise in Covid-19 cases. If too many students decide to put off a year, the economic models that depend on tuition, room and board could collapse.
The richest schools such as Williams may have the most flexibility. At Williams, the activities fee has been scrapped for all students. Those who study remotely won’t have to pay room and board for the time they’re not on campus.
Students may opt to return to campus, study remotely or take a leave or gap year.
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.