With pandemic losses mounting, local colleges face biggest test

EMPTY CAMPUS: The Memorial Union at the University of Rhode Island in South Kingstown is pictured in the background. URI Provost Daniel DeHayes says the university is expected to issue $8 million in refunds on room and board and had to spend $1 million to transition about 1,800 classes online due to the ­COVID-19 pandemic. / PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO
EMPTY CAMPUS: The Memorial Union at the University of Rhode Island in South Kingstown is pictured in the background. URI Provost Daniel DeHayes says the university is expected to issue $8 million in refunds on room and board and had to spend $1 million to transition about 1,800 classes online due to the ­COVID-19 pandemic. / PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO
Rhode Island-based colleges are already feeling the financial strain from the COVID-19 pandemic, with the cancellation of usually profitable events and the loss of tens of millions of dollars in planned refunds for students’ room and board for the last quarter of the academic year. But an even bigger fiscal challenge may be looming for…

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