Coronavirus: Fleming College estimates revenue losses due to pandemic ‘in the millions’

Fleming College in Peterborough, Ont., says Ontario's $1 billion investment for post-secondary institutions is a welcomed step as colleges and universities deal with a new federal cap on international students. Fleming College

Fleming College, which has campuses in Peterborough, Lindsay, Haliburton and Cobourg, has been dealing with declining enrolment and revenue due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

College president Maureen Adamson tells Global News Peterborough that enrolment is down about 30 per cent for the fall semester.  The majority of those not attending are international students because of travel restrictions.

Overall, around 30 per cent of courses are not being offered right now.

“I can say (the revenue loss) is in the millions.  Certainly we want to get that information before our Board of Governors first, but it is significant,” Adamson said.

“We’ve managed through it and we’re hoping it won’t be a repeat of that next year.  We did have enough financial health to offset that and we were able manage through it.”

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The campus reopened its doors last week to some students, but for the most part, courses remain online.

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“In any given day, the Sutherland Campus (in Peterborough), there’s as many as 600 students and at Frost Campus (in Lindsay) there’s 300 students,” she said.

“No student is coming into the buildings without prescreening and preapproval.  We know exactly where they are.  It’s about 600 square feet per one student.  In pre-COVID times, it’s about 600 square feet to 30 students.”

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Adamson said the college is now working on its 12- to 24-month COVID-19 recovery plan and is hopeful to offer about 80 per cent of courses for the winter semester with an eventual return to full capacity next fall.

She also said Ontario’s colleges have pitched the government for help with revenue losses and is ‘hopeful for a favourable result’ soon.

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Meanwhile, at Trent University in Peterborough, there’s about 1,000 students staying at the residence.

For the most part, courses are being offered virtually but some students are attending in-person classes.

“We do have some in-person labs, classes and placements,” said Nona Robinson, associate vice-president of students at Trent.  “We also have a first year seminar course.  It’s 20 students to one faculty member so they can have that live option.  It’s also offered virtually as well.”

As for the effect of the pandemic on enrolment, the numbers won’t be known until later this month for the fall semester and in the spring for the school year.

“Generally speaking, it’s impacted specific demographics like international students who haven’t been able to get here,” Robinson said.

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