COVID-19 upends the college experience

ABC News’ Terry Moran reports on college students pushing for tuition refunds during the pandemic, while some universities face financial pain.
5:28 | 04/30/20

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Transcript for COVID-19 upends the college experience
And tonight on the eve of college Decision Day we look at how the pandemic is changing. Higher education with remote learning cash strapped students are wondering if they're getting education that they pay for meanwhile many colleges and universities are also on a financial brink. ABC's Terry Moran has this report. It's a college experience Marshall McGwire didn't ask me he's a drama major at New York university's Tisch school of the arts and he is holding his craft. In his parents living room furniture on his mind how Peru and you. Do Marshall was one of the countless university students across the country who are figuring out how to adapt to life under cove mid nineteen. A whole collegiate generation. Has gone from attending classes on sprawling campus is to their parents home. I'm more rehearsing you Kermit and AM I don't. Know. For a lot of students the appeal of higher education is the interpersonal experience you've got to rule recount. He got credit curriculum and your. Now everybody use. No bargains trying to weed this critical that record we normally who were in New York it's just saw us now. But most colleges and universities have shut their doors and switched to remote learning many students are left wondering. Why do they still have to pay the full price yeah yeah yeah. The university of Chicago's one of many schools across the country. That has decided not to refund some or all tuition payments to students for their spring semester. It's an expensive school and some friends and the ice pack aren't aren't immigrants in Chicago is a lot to ask any handling sharing any time and isn't just that. Because of the circumstances this. It's especially in and people. Lydia Miller is a sophomore she and a dozen other students organized a protest in front of the home of Robert Zimmer he's the president of the University of Chicago yeah. Yeah. The 600 me because. We see how much money the university has lent comes this according students who are really struggling. And seen on the university at all. The University of Chicago isn't charging students for unused services like dorms they say in a statement to ABC news that. Tuition is an essential source of funding for the university's ongoing operations. Including support for financial aid as well as faculty and staff salaries university adds that reducing tuition. Would hinder its ability to provide all of its current educational offerings and to fulfill its core research and education mission. Andover University of Chicago has set up financial services for students in need during the pandemic. For senior Haley hill it's not that simple she said her family makes too much to be eligible for the financial aid. So she's taken a job as a live in baby sitter. I don't know what I'm going to get a job attending get a you know like IE IB sailing solo living with this. But it's like once once that time and loans and no longer needed and I think it's time to move on weather and Lou bonds. The future is also uncertain for many colleges and universities this pandemic is pushing some over a financial cliff. According to a report by the national student clearinghouse research center there were already a quarter of a million fewer students enrolled in college last year than the previous year. And now the loss of expected revenue in funding for many of these institutions. Is staggering. For example. The University of Michigan anticipates losses of 400 million to one billion dollars this year. And California's university system lost 558. Million dollars in unanticipated costs in March alone. But struggling students liked Marissa Riggs a senior at NYU say they're not getting what they're paying for right now. We would like. Mind Terry reimbursement that reflects. An online education. And we also. Like transparency. As to where our money is going. We haven't really didn't hold where tuition money go we've just been told there is no money. To get him for reimbursement. We don't know why you. NYU says it has refunded students for housing meal plans and other fees for the remainder of the semester and that. 99% of its classes are still being held now albeit remotely. Students are still making progress toward their degrees the schools says. The university still needs to. A faculty salaries. Credit facilities at the apple T used paper research labs libraries. Support staff. So there is a pot that's going to be our our tuition expenses. Regardless of weather or not and in person. Or is on campus. While some students feel their school administrations have let them down others remain optimistic they see a silver mine I'm so. They say incredibly grateful about. Faculty who are literally zapatero and leader. You're ready. Ballet class screw caller I'm traced. You're really got visas from. Not of might crack T have lost. Terry Moran ABC news Washington. Our thanks to Terry and that.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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