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TCU plans to reopen campus this fall despite coronavirus, says budget cuts are needed

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By Anna M. Tinsley

Updated April 30, 2020

TCU is making plans to bring students back to campus later this year.

In an email sent Thursday afternoon, Chancellor Victor J. Boschini Jr. told staff and faculty that the goal is to reopen campus in the fall, with a proposed start date of Aug. 24.

“As an institution of higher learning, we must preserve our academic environment, the intellectual advancement of our students, and all that the TCU experience promises,” stated the email, obtained by the Star-Telegram. “As we continue to develop our fall plans, we will abide by government and public health guidance because our responsibility to the TCU community is foundational.”

At the same time, the private university has been financially affected by the novel coronavirus, as have colleges across the country, and officials are working to reduce TCU’s 2021 operating budget by 20%, according to the email.

TCU in recent months sustained hits to its budget by moving classes online, canceling study abroad programs and refunding room and board costs to students who live on campus.

Now, as the world’s economy remains uncertain, there could be future financial hurdles for the college, ranging from a potential drop in enrollment to fewer or smaller endowments.

“We are proactively managing costs to responsibly maintain our fiscal health,” Boschini wrote in the email. “We know that the pandemic has created challenging financial situations for our students and their families ... and for our beloved University.

“By containing costs, we are able to increase institutional financial aid, making the TCU experience more affordable to students and their families going forward.”

TCU officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but said they planned to provide one soon.

Colleges across the country received billions of dollars in federal stimulus funding to help them and students deal with the fallout from the novel coronavirus.

But at TCU, for instance, at least half of the $5.7 million earmarked for the university is to help students who are struggling financially.

Boschini wote that he recently created a Fall 2020 Campus Readiness Task Force that is reviewing policies and processes that affect students, facilities, faculty, athletics and more. The task force is focusing “on a safe return to residential life and on-campus instruction.”

North Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Baylor and the University of Texas have said they plan to reopen campuses for the fall semester.

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