Colleges and universities received about $23 billion in the latest round of stimulus, far less than what they had requested. Many schools have laid off faculty and cut entire departments, with more cutbacks still looming.

Students, too, are struggling with pandemic-era financial struggles.

“The virus has worsened disparities in learning and opportunity between the rich and the rest of students, at all levels,” said Shawn Hubler, our colleague who often writes about higher education.

Enrollment has dropped, especially in community colleges, as many people struggle to make ends meet. And some students say they’re not getting their money’s worth by paying pre-pandemic tuition for an online-only education.

“There are moments where it starts to feel like perhaps I will be back in the classroom getting the full worth of my education, and blind optimism,” Amanda Grennan, 20, a low-income student at the University of Southern California who does some part-time work for The Times, wrote to us. “Then there are moments I feel paralyzed by the weight of learning online.”

Last semester, parties sometimes shut down entire campuses. This semester, students are likely to be even more fed up with restrictions on normal campus life.

Sports schedules will continue to shift: Expect more game-day delays and prolonged quarantines as the virus continues to rip through programs. And expect graduations, once again, to have much less pomp and circumstance.

“I’m in for a very depressing end to my senior year of college,” Sarah Decedue, 21, a college student in Charleston, S.C., wrote to us.


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