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Higher education institutions associated with Churches of Christ prepare for the 2020 fall semester

Details in this list are quickly changing. We will try to add updates when possible; however, please check with individual universities for the most up-to-date information.

Abilene Christian University 

Abilene, Texas | 5,210 students

2018 ENDOWMENT: $439.1 million

When classes begin Aug. 24, ACU expects a flat or slightly lower enrollment. Budget adjustments include a hiring freeze, no raises and temporary suspension of matching retirement contributions, but no employees were laid off or furloughed. Endowment rebounded from an initial 20 percent loss to a June 30 value of $441 million. 

Classes will resume online after Thanksgiving. Additional class times and non-traditional spaces are being added to achieve distancing and lower density. The period between classes will expand to 20 minutes to facilitate cleaning. About 78 percent of instruction will be face to face, down slightly from 80 percent most semesters.

Face masks are required indoors for all employees, students and campus visitors except when alone in a private space, and outdoors when physical distancing is possible. Free testing will be available for employees and students. Quarantine housing will be available for those who cannot quarantine at home.

Find the latest updates for ACU at: https://www.acu.edu/coronavirus.html

SOURCE: Linda Bonnin, senior vice president for marketing and strategic communication

Crowley’s Ridge College 

Paragould, Ark. | 194 students 

2018 ENDOWMENT: $1.3 million

Crowley’s Ridge projects a 17 percent enrollment jump. It plans face-to-face classes with social distancing, divided larger classes and staggered class times. Some may be moved online. 

The school trimmed fall budgets by 10 percent in a zero-based budgeting plan put in place by its new president. As of May 31, fundraising had increased by 20 percent. No layoffs were attributed to COVID-19.

Face masks and hand sanitizers will be available for employees, students and guests. Masks will be required in facilities where 6-foot distancing is not possible. Temperature checks will be conducted before entering facilities. Those with an elevated temperature will be asked to submit to testing off campus.

Find the latest updates for Crowley’s Ridge College at: https://crc.edu/wp/coronavirus-statement/

SOURCE: Richard Johnson, president

Faulkner University 

Montgomery, Ala. | 3,178 students

2018 ENDOWMENT: $20.7 million

UPDATE: On July 24, 2020, Faulkner released updated details to their plan. You can find full details at https://www.faulkner.edu/coronavirus-update/

Faulkner expects an increase in freshman enrollment and solid retention but has concerns about the economy’s impact on some adult programs. The board approved a conservative budget with expected reductions in revenue in those programs. No layoffs or furloughs have been required, but some vacant positions are being held open.

Employees and students are asked to wear masks “when practicable” and when remaining 6 feet from a person of a different household is not possible. On the Montgomery campus, masks are required in classrooms where 10 or more people are present. Employees will self-check temperatures before work. Checks will also be done at campus activities and events. 

Classrooms are structured to allow 6 feet between students. On- campus classes begin Aug. 17 and end Nov. 25 with finals concluding before Thanksgiving, a change from the regular schedule.

Find the latest updates for Faulkner University at: https://www.faulkner.edu/coronavirus-update/

SOURCE: Rebecca Burylo, public relations/social media manager

Florida College 

Temple Terrace, Fla. | 508 students

2018 ENDOWMENT: $18 million

Florida College has revised enrollment down by 10 percent and projects a budget shortfall, but fund-raising has covered the deficit. Some vacancies have been frozen, but no employees have been furloughed or laid off. 

The fall plan is for 100 percent face-to-face instruction on the originally planned schedule beginning Aug. 20, but there is a backup plan to switch to online instruction if necessary. 

No decisions have been made regarding face mask or screening requirements, but spaces for isolation have been identified for students who may need them. Larger classrooms and distance in seating were planned to improve instructional safety.

Find the latest updates for Florida College at: https://www.floridacollege.edu/

SOURCE: Adam Olson, chief advancement officer

Freed-Hardeman University 

Henderson, Tenn. | 2,038 students

2018 ENDOWMENT: $57.9 million

FHU leaders are cautiously optimistic they will have an increase in freshman enrollment but have made conservative spending and revenue projections. Endowment has seen a slight gain, and fundraising has been successful. A few employees were laid off in dining services.

The semester will begin a week early on Aug. 10 and end before Thanksgiving. The school plans on 100 percent face-to-face instruction using larger spaces and distance in seating. FHU expects to have testing and screening on campus but is still working through the details. No decision has been made regarding face masks. Campus housing will have designated quarantine areas for students who test positive.

Find the latest updates for FHU at: https://www.fhu.edu/

SOURCES: David R. Shannon, president; Dave Clouse, vice president for community engagement

Harding University 

Searcy, Ark. | 5,121 students

2018 ENDOWMENT: $142.7 million

Harding has adjusted headcount and revenue projections but remains “cautiously optimistic” about fall enrollment. Ten employees were laid off in May. Some vacant positions will not be filled, and other positions will be reduced to parttime. 

Classes in fall 2020 will be structured to support in-person or online instruction based on student need and preference. Classes will meet in rooms reconfigured to allow more spacing, moved to larger venues or alternating in-person and virtual participation to reduce class size. 

Screening will be conducted at move-in, and temperature checks in residence halls and daily self-screening will be required. One residence hall is reserved for quarantine purposes. 

All large events including Lectureship and Homecoming have been canceled or will be held virtually. Students and employees are being ask to limit travel. Fall break has been canceled, and students will not return to campus after Thanksgiving, completing class and finals online.

Find the latest updates for Harding University at: https://www.harding.edu/

SOURCE: Jana Rucker, vice president for university communications and enrollment

Lipscomb University 

Nashville, Tenn. | 4,620 students

2018 ENDOWMENT: $85 million

Lipscomb will implement LipscombFlex, which provides for in-person or online learning. How each class incorporates LipscombFlex will depend on class content, room design, student and faculty safety needs and required learning modality. Labor Day and Fall Break holidays are canceled. After Thanksgiving, students may remain at home or return to residence halls, but classes and final exams will be delivered remotely. 

Face coverings will be required when physical distancing is not possible or a known health risk to an individual exists. Students and employees are asked to check their temperature before coming to campus or leaving their dorm room and to report temperatures above 100.4. 

Find the latest updates for Lipscomb University at: https://www.lipscomb.edu/return-campus-plan

SOURCE: Kim Chaudoin, assistant vice president, public relations and communications

Lubbock Christian University 

Lubbock, Texas | 1,805 students

2018 ENDOWMENT: $21.3 million

LCU’s semester schedule remains unchanged, Aug. 24-Dec. 10, with 98 percent in-person instruction. Assessments have matched class size to room size to facilitate social distancing; some larger class sections may be divided. Campus housing opens in August. A limited number of single rooms are available, and shared rooms are large enough for roommates to maintain distancing. 

Because some students may not return for financial reasons, fall enrollment projections were reduced by 7 percent. Although endowment took a 5-percent hit for the calendar year, alumni and donors have stepped forward to support specific needs for student health and safety. Reductions in the workforce in recent years prevented the need for layoffs or furloughs.

Masks will be required in campus buildings and while in proximity to others outdoors. Students are expected to monitor themselves daily for COVID-19 symptoms; testing will be provided to students who exhibit them. 

Find the latest updates for LCU at: https://lcu.edu/

SOURCE: Warren McNeill, vice president for university relations

Ohio Valley University 

Vienna, W.Va. | 509 students

2018 ENDOWMENT: $2 million

Enrollment projections are on target for fall after a 35 percent drop in 2019. Contingency plans are in place, but to date, the pandemic has necessitated no layoffs.

Classes run Aug. 17 through Nov. 18 with finals Nov 19-21. To accommodate shortening the semester by one week, instructors will schedule additional instructional time during an evening or weekend. Face masks are required inside academic and athletic buildings. Occupancy will be limited to 50 percent of the fire marshal’s rated occupancy.

The campus has enough dorm rooms to provide a single room for every student should that become necessary.

Find the latest updates for OHU at: https://www.ovu.edu/covid19-response

SOURCE: Michael Ross, president

Oklahoma Christian University 

Oklahoma City | 2,247 students

2018 ENDOWMENT: $30.2 million

Returning students are enrolling slightly behind expected rates, while new students are enrolling slightly ahead of last year, thus budget planning has been done for several scenarios. Twelve full-time and three part-time staff were laid off, and a dozen open positions are unfilled.

Fall classes begin two weeks early on Aug. 13, and finals will conclude before Thanksgiving. Classrooms, labs and other experiential learning spaces are adjusted to accommodate healthy distancing. Online courses will be about the same as in typical semesters, but some learning models are planned that will include flexible options for students.

More single living spaces will be available. Spaces are designated for quarantine should that be necessary. Employees, students and visitors will wear masks in all shared campus spaces.

Find the latest updates for OC at: https://www.oc.edu/

SOURCE: Risa Forrester, chief communications officer

Pepperdine University 

Malibu, Calif. | 7,961 students

2018 ENDOWMENT: $904.1 million

UPDATE: Pepperdine has decided to move all fall classes online. FULL STORY

Pepperdine has exceeded its fall undergraduate enrollment target but anticipates declines in international and graduate enrollment. A hiring freeze was implemented in the spring, merit increases and non-essential capital projects suspended and endowment payout held flat, but no layoffs or furloughs.

Fall semester begins Aug. 17, two weeks early, concluding before Thanksgiving. Spring semester begins Feb. 8, proceeding without a spring break, and ending May 20. 

Instructional options will range from in-person classes on the Malibu campus, fully online courses or a mixture of in-person and online meetings. Some on-campus classes will require attendance, while others will provide options for remote/online instruction to students distant from campus.

Residence halls and community spaces will meet spacing guidelines and quarantine housing designated. Pepperdine plans to meet and exceed the screening and testing requirements determined by the local and government agencies. A face covering requirement is in effect and will remain so until L.A. County public health lifts its recommendation.

Find the latest updates for Pepperdine University at: https://www.pepperdine.edu/coronavirus/

SOURCE: Alex Forero, public relations manager

York College 

York, Neb. | 445 students

2018 ENDOWMENT: $15.6 million

York expects a record enrollment in the fall. Housing appears full, and measures to protect against COVID-19 are being considered by a task force. Similarly, plans for instruction and social distancing in the classrooms and elsewhere are underway.

The semester will begin Aug. 25 as planned, but students will not return after Thanksgiving and will complete the semester online unless they are athletes or international students who cannot return home. Masks will probably be required for class and chapel. Testing and screening will be available.

Find the latest updates for York College at: https://www.york.edu/coronavirus.html

SOURCE: Steven Eckman, president (retired)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Enrollment and endowment figures are from 2018 U.S. News’ Best Colleges report, except for Crowley’s Ridge College and Florida College, which provided numbers directly to The Christian Chronicle.

Filed under: campus plans Church of Christ college Coronavirus COVID-19 covid19 higher education online classes Partners university

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