Students, parents, and faculty nationwide will have to redefine their image of what the typical “college experience” will look like this fall, as many classes go remote and off-campus for the safety of everyone due to COVID-19.
According to a poll by market research firm Art & Science Group, more than half of U.S. high school seniors have a parent or guardian who has lost a job, been laid off, or has been furloughed. More than a quarter of these students say their first-choice school may no longer be affordable. Students are either dropping out, deferring and taking a gap year, or deciding not to go to college altogether.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) activity is showing this trend. Overall FAFSA renewals are off about 5 percent, meaning more than 350,000 students did not fill out the federal form, according to National College Attainment Network (NCAN) data.
Without student tuition to rely on, hundreds of schools have announced hiring freezes. Institutions have cut pay and have laid off staff and contractors. Many colleges have extended decision day for incoming freshmen to June 1 or later. Colleges that don’t have big endowments to fall back on are struggling to survive.
There are financial options available for students and their parents during this stressful time. While the situation around COVID-19 changes every day, there are steps you can take now to improve your financial situation:
The pandemic has made planning for higher education even more difficult for parents and students. Reach out Harris to Financial Advisors today for strategic guidance and college planning resources. Our team will help bring clarity to the college planning process, for the fall semester and beyond.