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Email from Janine Davidson, Ph.D., MSU Denver president
June 5, 2020
I hope this email finds you and your loved ones doing well. As I said in my letter to the community Wednesday, the tumultuous events of the past week have left all of us shaken. They also come on top of over two months of isolation and uncertainty as a result of COVID-19. It seems strange to write about anything else. But I have promised to keep you informed on decisions and actions that affect the future of Metropolitan State University of Denver. And that’s why I’m reaching out – to share some important updates from today’s Board of Trustees meeting.
No tuition increase and several campus fees waived for fall 2020
After a robust discussion among the trustees, MSU Denver has decided not to increase the cost of tuition for resident and nonresident undergraduate students for the fall 2020 semester. We simply cannot in good conscience raise tuition on our undergraduates given the challenges they’ve faced over the past two months.
Relatedly, the board waived several campus-based fees for the fall semester: the Campus Recreation, Intercollegiate Athletics and pass-through fees (with the exception of the Clean Energy and Phoenix Center fees). The Student Technology and Online Program fees will also be rolled into one Technology fee that will be charged to all undergraduate students to support increased technology needs for remote learning. The combined fee will be assessed at a reduced rate of $20 per credit hour. All told, this should provide some substantial financial relief to our undergraduates.
This decision does complicate MSU Denver’s overall budget outlook for fiscal year 2020-21. We are a tuition-dependent University, due in large part to chronic underfunding from the state over the past two decades. There will be tough decisions to face, but we feel strongly that now is not the time to pass this cost on to students.
Planning for a safe return to campus
Over the past several weeks, our Roadrunners Safe Return Committee has been working on plans for a safe and gradual return to campus. As always, the top priority will be the health of our students, faculty and staff. The plan will also aim for flexibility, both for our community members who are most vulnerable and in the event that we once again need to pivot our operations as a result of the pandemic.
The fall semester will not be typical, but we do believe it will be a success. As we announced with our Auraria Campus partners in May, we’ll be adopting a mixed approach to classes, which allows us to safely accommodate some in-person courses while also bolstering our online offerings. With social-distancing guidelines and campus capacity restrictions, we anticipate at least two-thirds of our classes to meet online. Students will receive an email in mid-June about which of their classes will be delivered remotely. The University has also invested in its faculty members, providing new tools and support to ensure the quality of every online class. We anticipate that most student-support services will be offered virtually, with some available in person.
On-campus classes will be prioritized based on which require an in-person component to meet Student Learning Objectives. We know there will be fewer students in each classroom and a limited number of people on campus overall. In coordination with our campus partners, we will be putting in place public-health-informed safety protocols and procedures. We will also ask our campus community to act with generosity and selflessness, taking personal precautions such as wearing a mask to ensure that we all remain safe.
There will be much more to come on the return to campus, including an FAQ on our website. Please stay tuned to your email for additional updates.
While this semester will look different from most, some things have not changed: our commitment to high-quality education and providing an environment in which our students, faculty and staff can thrive. Amid all of the challenges facing our city and country right now, I continue to find hope in our extraordinary learning community. Thank you for your continued support, patience and flexibility.
Janine Davidson, Ph.D.