If the Fall Semester is Virtual...

Some students might choose to withdraw if fall classes are online.

THE CORONAVIRUS CAUSED most colleges and universities to transition to online classes for the spring and summer semesters, and now many are considering whether classes will remain online in the fall. OneClass—a note-sharing company that provides study guides and tutorials for college students—recently surveyed more than 1,000 students at 25 schools across the U.S. about their plans if classes remain virtual for the next semester. Just under 3

About half of the students who plan to withdraw say online classes offer poor learning experiences. A University of Missouri student noted, “I really struggle to learn from online classes.” A Temple University student observed that classes with labs would be pointless. A Michigan State student said that the home environment presented too many distractions and had a bad internet connection.

The rest who plan to withdraw consider online classes a poor value. “There’s no reason to pay out-of-state tuition if I’m at home,” a University of Georgia student said. Another noted, “I do not see why I would pay $15k to go to UMass Amherst when I can ... take classes at my local community college online for much cheaper.” A Cal Poly student said bluntly, “I’m not paying full price for YouTube university.” Students who withdraw from their universities say they might attend community college, take a gap semester, transfer to schools with in-state tuition, or get an internship or a job.

Among those who plan to stay at their current colleges, several noted that they either don’t want to lose their scholarships or they want to graduate on time. Others want to earn diplomas from their specific institutions. Said a student from the University of California in Los Angeles, “This is my dream school; I’m not giving up on it.”