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Post-sec students consider deferring upcoming year as coronavirus impacts jobs, delivery of programs

Postponing post-secondary schooling for a year is an option some students are considering as they face fewer summer jobs, higher tuition and changed program delivery.

On June 1, Mount Royal University’s President Timothy Rahilly released their final decision on whether or not students will make a return to in-person classes.

“We have made the definitive decision that Mount Royal will deliver instruction and services primarily using alternative delivery in Fall 2020,” Rahilly said.

Unlike other institutions around Calgary, MRU is one of the only major universities to make this commitment.

That’s left some students questioning if they’ll return to class for the fall semester or defer until next year.

Michaela Neuman, a returning MRU fourth-year communications student has made the decision to not return for fall due to financial problems caused by COVID-19.

“I lost my job and being a full-time photographer right now isn’t the best due to the health restrictions,” she said.

“I don’t think I’ll go back for fall just because I don’t have the money. With tuition and fees going up and no breaks from MRU, it’s not looking good.”

U of C sees some deferrals, but full picture in July

Neuman isn’t the only student feeling this way. Other Calgary education institutions are feeling some blowback from COVID-19.

The University of Calgary has seen some deferrals but the majority have opted to come back for the fall semester.

“Final decisions won’t be made on student deferrals until July, but currently most students are not requesting deferrals,” said the U of C

The U of C had previously announced some students will return to class for the fall. They said they’d try to maintain no more than 30 per cent of regular students numbers on campus. This might factor into some student’s choice to return to class.

Smaller institutions like St. Mary’s University have seen no deferrals despite students not returning for in-class education similar to MRU.

Dr. Tara Hyland-Russell, vice president of academics at St. Mary’s, said the lack of deferrals comes from the liberal arts programs offered at the university.

“I think we will suffer less because students come to us for specific programs. That might be why we see fewer deferrals than other universities,” she said.

Hyland-Russell goes on to say that there isn’t an exact response to these trying times for any university.