How is COVID-19 Affecting College

It’s the question on the top of every current and incoming college student’s mind: how is COVID-19 affecting college? We have already seen the immediate impacts: online classes, virtual graduations, and distance learning. Meanwhile, college around the country are facing a new set of changes as students and families adapt to the new reality.

For applicants, it’s important to continue preparing for admissions despite the changing circumstances. For current students, stay in touch with your school for the latest updates about what the fall semester will look like.

The Current Impact of COVID-19 on Colleges

Nearly every institution of higher education is closed to students. Campuses are closed. Classes are being taught online. And tuition has not been refunded. For the upcoming academic year, colleges are concerned about enrollment. In fact, some schools are already tapping their waitlists to meet enrollment goals. Additionally, there is a spike in interest of students taking a gap year because incoming freshman don’t see the appeal in another year of online learning.

The Financial Implications on Colleges

Some schools have implemented hiring freezes and furloughs, while others have put a stop to build projects. Schools with large endowments will struggle, but have the resources to endure. On the other hand, smaller colleges may not withstand the financial blow of lost revenue. Additionally, a drop in international enrollment due to travel restrictions will cause a financial hit to colleges. International students often pay full tuition which helps offset the cost of domestic students. That missing international tuition will affect financial aid for domestic students.

What the Fall Semester Will Look Like

Colleges are weighing dozens of scenarios. Some colleges will hold classes on campus. Others plan to continue virtual schooling. Additional schools will opt for a hybrid model.

Changes to the Admissions Process

The admissions process is ever evolving and COVID-19 has accelerated that process. Many schools are making the SAT and ACT optional now due to canceled test dates. However, if you do take the test and do score well—submit your scores! Essays, recommendation letters, and extracurricular activities and interests will carry more weight than ever. And the Common App has even added a section for students to elaborate on how COVID-19 has affected them.

The 2020-2021 college admissions cycle will be like one no one has ever seen. Students and parents should feel confident by following their plan, doing research, asking questions, and working with an expert from Accolade Financial to answer the question: how is COVID-19 affecting college. Get started and schedule your next appointment now.