Harvard goes online, tuition costs unchanged

Harvard invites freshmen to campus, but classes stay online

Harvard University's undergraduate and graduate students will continue with online coursework into the 2020-2021 academic year as the nation continues to grapple with the effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic, school officials announced Monday.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts, Ivy League school announced the decision on its website, writing that when the first semester of the school year begins as scheduled on Sept. 2, 2020, “all course instruction” will be done online.

Tuition for the full year will remain the same at $49,653, according to Harvard's website.

WHICH UNIVERSITIES WILL BE ONLINE IN THE FALL?the fall semester will cost $24,827, the same as it would for on-campus learning, according to the university. Students will also be charged $2,157 in fees for the semester for a grand total of $26,984.

“Students will learn remotely, whether or not they live on campus,” the school said.

University officials also said they would allow only 40 percent of undergraduates on campus in an effort to reduce density and prevent the spread of COVID-19. All freshmen will be invited, along with some other students who face challenges learning from afar.

In deciding which students to invite, Harvard's president said he “could not help but recognize the unique position that first-year students find themselves in, making the transition to college in these strange times.”

Harvard University (Getty Images)


“They have not yet begun to build their Harvard network of faculty, advisors and friends,” Lawrence Bacow said in a campus letter. “Even with the many adaptations that will be in place this fall, we see enormous value in having them on campus in our residential system.”

If the same capacity limits are in place for the spring term, freshmen would likely return home and seniors would be invited to finish their final term on campus, Bacow wrote.


Harvard joins a growing number of universities announcing plans to bring back only a portion of their students. Yale University last week said 60% of its students will be invited for the fall.

Along with the capacity limits, Harvard says it will require all students on campus to undergo regular virus testing. All students will be tested upon arrival on campus, officials said, and then once every three days. Any students who test positive will be placed in isolation. The university says it has space to isolate 250 students at a time.

Campus buildings will be barred to outsiders, and even to Harvard undergraduates who do not live on campus.

Students who lack the technology to learn from home or face other challenges will be able to apply for permission to return to campus, Bacow said. A panel of faculty and staff will review applications and decide which students should be invited back.

Colleges across the nation struggled with remote instruction last spring after the coronavirus prompted abrupt campus closures. Harvard said it's taking measures to improve remote learning for the spring and it's recruiting graduate students to work as teaching fellows.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.