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Wartburg College President Darrel Colson announced Monday that all students enrolled full-time during the 2020-21 school year will be eligible for a fifth year at the college tuition free.

The offer was extended to ensure all current students impacted by the changes necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic could get the full Wartburg experience, which extends beyond the academic programs to include co-curriculars like student government, student media, music ensembles and intercollegiate athletics.

“At Wartburg, we take pride in our holistic approach to education; we offer a rigorous academic program with an emphasis on living one’s learning,” Colson said. “Because the pandemic has interrupted so many of our normal activities, we want to ensure that our graduates receive the full benefit of a Wartburg education. Offering free tuition for a fifth year seems to fit the bill; students can return for another semester or year to complete any activity they feel as if they left unfinished.”

In mid-March, as the coronavirus began to spread worldwide, Wartburg pivoted to remote learning, canceling all spring athletic events, concerts and other gatherings on campus. Though the college plans to resume in-person classes in late August, campus life will continue to be impacted as students, faculty and staff work to keep the campus and Waverly communities safe.

“We cannot be sure what to expect this year, and therefore we cannot be sure that the year will meet our students’ and their families’ expectations,” Colson said. “Whether they are first-year students just beginning their journey as a Knight or seniors contemplating that next step, we want to ensure that all of our current students are given every opportunity to live the fullness of the Wartburg experience.”