How COVID-19 Is Impacting College Enrollment

How COVID-19 Is Impacting College Enrollment


COVID-19 is impacting college enrollment for the upcoming academic year as nationwide economic fallout continues to impact incoming and current students.

Many families are struggling to maintain their bills as the unemployment rate has been at its highest since the Great Depression. For some families, college tuition is another bill that they’d have to worry about. It’s also become an issue for students that are financially independent that have few sources of income.

Many colleges and universities throughout the country are changing their plans for the upcoming semester. These changes leave students with uncertainty surrounding if it’s worth attending in the fall. A survey done by Simpson Scarborough showed that 1 in 5 high school seniors believe that they’re likely not going to attend college next semester due to COVID-19.

The evident shift in college education is that, at some point in the semester, most are making online courses mandatory as opposed to in-person learning.  The University of Tampa decided on switching to online courses after Thanksgiving Break, resulting in online final exams. According to Andrew Keshner, with MarketWatch, more than 100 lawsuits were filed because students feel as if online schooling isn’t what they “bargained for”.

The American Council on Education found that most colleges expect to see an overall enrollment decrease of 15%. Along with growing accustomed to online schooling, students are also finding an issue within on-campus housing.

“It doesn’t make sense for me to pay the same price for room and board as last fall semester if I’m staying on campus for fewer weeks,” said Jorge Ramos, a Stony Brook University senior.

Stony Brook University’s housing costs are estimated to increase by hundreds of dollars from the last academic year to the upcoming one. In an article published in The Statesman, Alek Lewis wrote that the university will switch to online after Nov. 21. Students like Ramos are confused about why the cost is rising but their time there is shortened.

Housing and online learning for the next semester seems to be the main concerns for high school seniors and college students. As a result, students are debating if it’s worth paying to attend college in the fall.

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