Fewer undergraduates will be living on campus at Harvard than expected.
About 20% of Harvard’s incoming freshmen have deferred their enrollment, the university said in an email this week. Staff were anticipating a larger number of on-campus residents.
Harvard said it plans to have 1,168 first-year students in residence or the Fall 2020 semester, compared with 1,650 first-year students starting last fall.
Last month, Harvard announced it was planning to bring back 40% of its undergraduates to campus, including all first-year students.
But undergraduates made their decisions about whether to return to campus or study remotely, and that number is smaller than what Harvard had planned.
“While our plan prepared us for as many as 40% of our typical undergraduate population learning in residence, we are currently anticipating a residential cohort size of closer to 25% based on the number of students who have accepted our invitation to learn on campus,” the email said.
It’s not just freshmen: More than half of all 5,231 total undergraduates will learn remotely, the university said. Most classes have moved online, and most faculty and staff will work remotely, per the university’s reopening plan.
Universities of all sizes have struggled to flexibly respond to coronavirus as cases surge. In March, schools including Harvard gave students just days to move out of their on-campus housing. Now, universities like the University of California - Los Angeles and the University of Virginia will hold most classes online.
Coronavirus concerns are keeping students out of sports across the US, at both public and private institutions. The National Collegiate Athletics Association, or NCAA, canceled fall championships for Divisions II and III sports.
Two Division I football stars opted out of the 2020 football season this week, citing coronavirus concerns: Rondale Moore of Purdue University and Greg Rousseau of the University of Miami. Most Division I universities, which typically have the largest and most successful athletic programs (and generate revenue for schools and the NCAA) have not made a decision to cancel division championships.
The deadline to defer enrollment for many universities has already passed.
Their options include attending classes online, a mix of online and in-person classes or withdrawing their enrollment and reapplying the following year.
CNN’s Jabari Jackson and Jill Martin contributed to this report.