Just like many people are worried about how the recent shutdowns will impact their businesses and life in general, students are concerned about the impact the COVID-19 pandemic might have on their education and the institutions they attend to obtain it.
APSU, like many campuses nationwide, has done well in recalibrating its educational settings to a complete online format. Students and teachers are going about their academic duties just as they would if everything were normal, albeit just not face-to-face.
On a level both optimistic and realistic, it is this feature of keeping in business due to the online format that has spared the University from facing economic/financial despair that many other businesses and institutions are experiencing.
Nevertheless, many concerns haunt the APSU institution about the possible consequences to come from this sudden shutdown in the near and far future. These consequences concern the economical, the logistical, the occupational and the hygienic.
The first great drawback that has impacted APSU is the sudden halt of students using their meal plans, as well as residential students withdrawing from their dormitories and moving back home. Obligated to refund the students on their room and meal plans, the University has had to dig into its reserve funds to fulfill the reimbursements, according to Eric Norman, Vice President of Student Affairs.
The next big financial blow the University is facing is the cancellation of its Spring athletic events and the reduction of financial distributions issued by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for the fiscal year of 2019–2020. The reduction of the NCAA fund is 72%, according to Mitch Robinson, Vice President of Finance and Administration.
Other sources of University revenue have also been dissolved for this year—Study Abroad, University facility rentals, the Child Learning Center, Foy Recreation Center, the Bookstore and the Post Office.
Reinforcing these financial inconveniences, the University may see less financial support coming from the state because of the possible budget cuts the state would have to consider due to less tax revenue from a malnourishment in economic activity, if this pandemic pulls through into the summer.
The possible recession that many fear to be looming near us can further inconvenience individual students as it would the University. A recession would negatively impact many serving establishments outside of the University, which would mean a possible lack of employment for some students to see their way through college.
“Students rely overwhelmingly on the services sector for employment while going to school. Unfortunately, it is the service sector that is most affected by this particular recession. This would likely mean that student employment options off-campus could be more limited in the fall,” Dr. Mickey A. Hepner, APSU Dean of College of Business, said.
A recession could also possibly mean that freshly graduated students might have a harder time finding permanent employment and may receive lower earnings during their first few years out of school.
It could also mean that APSU, as well as other college campuses in Tennessee and across the nation, may see less enrollment during this possible recession.
But this is all possibility and not definite as of yet.
“There are lots of possible long-term consequences. It’s too early to tell exactly what will happen but the longer we are not in a ‘business as usual’ mode, the more impact it has upon students and the University,” Greg Singleton, Dean of Students, said.
And though we may fret about all what may happen due to this sudden shutdown, it does not outweigh the wise prudence of being safe in facing this hazardous pandemic.
“While we are still calculating the full impact of this, it does not outweigh the importance of safety for our campus and the community,” Bill Persinger, Executive Director of Public Relations and Marketing, said.
Recession, lack of enrollment, lack of employment—this is all speculation and reserved only for the distanced future. As of now, APSU has deployed a COVID-19 task force to counter the current consequences of the recent shutdown as well as to combat possible consequences of the future.
Meanwhile, APSU has done a grand job at countering the drawbacks that are currently taking place and those soon to be present in the near future.
Though not having to sacrifice any employees, APSU has created the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to help employees who cannot work due to COVID-19. Employees are eligible for certain benefits if they are self-quarantining due to having the illness, caring for loved ones who have contracted COVID-19 or taking care of their children at home due to the closure of their children’s schools or daycare centers.
Learn more about Families First Coronavirus Response Act here.
APSU has also established its Emergency Funds or The Govs Give Back Fund to help students, as well as faculty and staff, who are facing an unexpected financial crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. Whomever wishes to apply must do so through the Save our Students (SOS) Food Pantry. You can learn more about the APSU Emergency Fund here.