American U. plans virtual fall semester; students to get 10% tuition discount

American University in D.C. will go entirely virtual for the fall semester with no students living on campus, the university announced Thursday, citing rising cases of the coronavirus nationwide and a new requirement for travelers to the District to self-quarantine.

The announcement was made on the university’s website. The university said it will offer all students a 10% discount on their fall tuition.

The announcement marks a reversal in course from a plan AU announced last month to welcome some students back to campus and offer a “blended combination” of in-person and online instruction.

In a statement Thursday, the university said the “tough but best” decision to keep students off-campus and offer online courses only was made based on “evolving health conditions” in the coronavirus pandemic.


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The statement cited the rising number of coronavirus cases across the country, including outbreaks among young people. Overall, new COVID-19 cases nationwide are up from about 20,000 per day in June to almost 70,000 per day now, the statement said.

In addition, the university pointed to nationwide shortages in testing capabilities and delays in delivering results; the decision by D.C.-area public schools to transition to distance learning, which the university said could create challenges for faculty members; and an order issued D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser requiring all travelers coming into the District to quarantine for 14 days.

The quarantine “potentially requires hundreds of students to remain in their residence hall rooms or off-campus housing as classes commence,” the statement said.

In addition to the 10% tuition discount, AU will waive student sports center fees. Previously, the university announced it was waiving student activity fees this fall.

The university said it will provide emergency housing “to a very limited number of students who face extraordinary circumstances” and said an application process will be offered soon.

The academic calendar will remain in place, with online classes beginning Aug. 24 and finals concluding the week of Dec. 7.

AU joins Georgetown University and George Washington University in moving to online classes this fall.

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