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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Natow

Fall Prospects for Colleges Following the COVID-19 Pandemic

An op-ed in Forbes by the president of Southern New Hampshire University, Paul LeBlanc, reminds us that it is still very much an open question whether college campuses will reopen for business as usual this fall. Dr. LeBlanc writes that, should colleges continue to offer 100% distance learning options in the fall, "there is little reason to believe that students will pay regular tuition for an online education. Not because well done online education is not of high quality, though what many of them are experiencing now falls well short of that standard given the hasty shift to online for many institutions. Students won’t pay regular tuition if they are not getting the coming of age campus experience that is what they value most about going away to college."

Meanwhile, Inside Higher Education is reporting interesting findings from recent surveys regarding high school seniors' perspectives regarding the prospect of Fall college enrollment following the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the surveys' findings (quoted from Inside Higher Ed):

CarnegieDartlet survey: "On paying for college, 23 percent of the sample said they have a high level of confidence in their ability to afford college. That's down from 32 percent who said they had a high level of confidence before the pandemic took hold. And 17 percent of students are not at all confident they can afford college now, up from 11 percent before the outbreak. Those last numbers are higher for those for minority or poor students."

Arts & Science Group survey: "Of the 63 percent who said they were going to attend a four-year college, but probably not their first choice, 21 percent said they were not sure their first choice was affordable, 15 percent had not been able to have an overnight visit at their first choice and 12 percent said that either they or a family member had a health issue that required attention."

Cirkled survey: "69 percent see the health crisis changing their financial situation with respect to higher education. More than a quarter of students said that COVID-19 will affect their college choice."

Maguire Associates survey: "Nine of 10 prospective students whose decision process has been impacted cited the ability to visit a campus" while "75 percent of students indicated that their rankings of preferred colleges and universities hadn’t changed."

Also from Maguire Associates: "Many parents have complained that high schools are not doing enough to encourage their students to work during this time."

Finally, from Kaplan Test Prep: "Less than half (43 percent) say their [high] school has provided their child with homework assignments."

Read Inside Higher Education's full reporting on the surveys here.

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