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Higher Education and COVID-19 Information

Like other industries, higher education has been hit hard by the coronavirus. Below, SCHEV offers the following information to assist students, parents, colleges and universities navigate through these challenging times. This page will be updated as new information becomes available.

For Students and Parents:

For current information related to activities at an institution, current students and parents should refer to the COVID-specific websites of your institution. See list below.


Public Four-Year
Public Two Year

Student Loan Borrowers

In light of the daily impact of COVID-19, the Student Loan Advocate posted guidance for student loan borrowers weighing their options for repayment in light of an uncertain financial future. Guidance to Virginians with Student Loan Debt in Light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Crisis.

In addition, Secretary DeVos announced that “Federal Student Aid (FSA) is executing on the President’s promise to provide student loan relief to tens of millions of borrowers during the national emergency. All borrowers with federally held student loans will automatically have their interest rates set to 0% for a period of at least 60 days.  In addition, each of these borrowers will have the option to suspend their payments for at least two months to allow them greater flexibility during the national emergency. This will allow borrowers to temporarily stop their payments without worrying about accruing interest.”

The Federal Student Aid office also offers Coronavirus and Forbearance Information for Students, Borrowers, and Parents.

Nursing Education Program Waivers

The Virginia Department of Health Professions issued temporary waivers related to clinical hours for those in nursing education programs.

Virtual College Tour Links

Virginia institution virtual college tours

National virtual college tours.

Resources for Basic College Student Needs

College students, while you may feel that you are the only one trying to figure out how to pay bills, how to relocate and store your things, how to take care of your health, and how to manage emotionally... you are not alone. Others are experiencing the same challenges. The following guides provide resources that show that the community cares about you and your needs:

Student Guide to Surviving COVID-19 [pdf]

Beyond the Food Pantry [pdf]

GEAR UP Virginia COVID-19 Update

The COVID outbreak poses difficulties in serving the GEAR UP cohort of 2020 students as they graduate from high school and transition to postsecondary. Read more in this newsletter from Gear Up Virginia.

For Institutions:

Guidance for Private Postsecondary Institutions

SCHEV provides guidance to SCHEV-certified postsecondary schools related to distance education.

Higher Education Equity During COVID-19

Targeted and compassionate decision-making is needed to ensure that our most vulnerable populations stay engaged and supported. Students that were already on the margins across our college communities have the greatest tendency to fall off during disasters. Ethnic minority and low-income students may face the biggest impacts, which increases the need for equity-minded supports and investments.

SCHEV offers the following resource links to help guide equity-minded decision making that directly impacts students:

Considerations for Institutes of Higher Education (IHE) During Early Student Move-Out

As institutes of higher education (IHEs) across the Commonwealth transition to online classes, many IHEs are advising students to move out of residential on-campus housing early in order to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 in campus housing.

As students plan their return to IHEs to retrieve their belongings and complete the move-out process for the 2019-2020 academic year, IHE leadership should consider the following to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission during student move-out:
  • Stagger when students and families arrive on campus to complete the move-out process; consider asking students and their families to schedule a specific time to complete their move-out in order to reduce the number of individuals on campus and in campus housing at one time.
  • Encourage hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette with the use of educational signage and the increased availability of supplies such as hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol) and tissues.
  • Encourage students and family members who are ill to refrain from completing the move-out process.
  • Designate a space where students or family members who become ill while on campus can be separated from others while being further evaluated for signs/symptoms of COVID-19
  • Increase cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as railings, door knobs, light switches, elevator buttons, bathroom fixtures, etc.
For further guidance please refer to CDC Interim Guidance for IHEs, or contact your local health department.

State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) Resources:

Federal Government Resources for Higher Education Institutions

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