A Return to the ‘Normal-Normal’: Colleges Ready to Adjust to End of Pandemic Emergencies

"As the COVID-19 pandemic dawned in Spring 2020, the federal government granted institutions of higher education a series of waivers and flexibilities that allowed them to continue functioning under radically different conditions," Diverse: Issues in Higher Education reports.

"Schools were allowed to pay work-study wages for students whose employment was interrupted by COVID, for example, and didn’t have to count incomplete classes due to COVID in financial aid calculations. Domestic students were freed from financial aid verification requirements, and some international students were allowed to skip the visa interview process.

Now, with the Biden administration’s announcement that the national and public health emergencies declared in response to COVID will end May 11th, all of those accommodations are coming to an end, and institutions will have to make an adjustment.

'These waivers have been in place for three years, so schools have been really used to them,' said Jill Desjean, a senior policy analyst with the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. 'They’ll have to refamiliarize themselves with the ‘normal-normal,’ as opposed to the ‘new normal.’'

This adjustment may be an administratively complex process.

'The end of the national emergency doesn’t result in any kind of sudden drop-off,”'said Desjean. “It sort of starts a clock. It’s not just as simple as, ‘Hey, everybody, on May 11th, you can’t do any of these things.'"

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Publication Date: 2/8/2023

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