6 ways COVID is changing college plans in one U.S. state
Most college students in Vermont are eager to re-enroll for the fall semester, but online learning and financial concerns are dampening their enthusiasm.
Between 85% and 90% of first-year and returning students expect to re-enroll, though they are also worried about their ability to pay for college, according to a survey by the Vermont Student Assistance Corp.
“This study confirms that COVID-19 is having an impact on students’ college enrollment plans, mostly because of its effects on families’ financial security,” said Scott Giles, CEO the financial aid agency. “And results further suggest that the pandemic may end up widening already-existing gaps in educational attainment especially affecting those who are traditionally underserved.”
Around 20% of students said they might delay or cancel their enrollment for the fall semester if they had to take all or most classes online.
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White students (46%) were more likely to say they would attend college as normal even if their classes remained online. Only 20% of students of color said online learning would not change their fall semester plans.
Students of color were almost twice as likely as white students were to say they would need academic support to successfully complete online classes.
The report also found that:
- 54% of students said financial aid was “absolutely critical”
- First-generation students, female students and students of color reported feeling less confident about their ability to pay for college
- Female students and first-generation students were also more likely to report loss of a job or work hours
Finally, the survey asked students if they had experienced COVID-related financial disruptions, such as losing a scholarship, losing a job, their parents losing a job, inability to find a summer job or a positive COVID diagnosis in their family.
Not surprisingly, the more of these factors a student reported, the more likely they were to say thyey might not enroll and that they were worried about being able to afford tuition.