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COVID-19 Causes Concern For Fall Enrollment

COVID-19 CAUSES CONCERN FOR FALL ENROLLMENT
APRIL 28, 2020

As the traditional May 1 college decision day approaches, admissions leaders have been expressing concern that a significant number of students who have paid deposits promising to attend certain institutions will opt out against enrolling because of the coronavirus pandemic.  Admissions officers always expect some students who told a college they planned to attend not to enroll.  The phenomenon has a name--"summer melt."  However, the "summer melt" is expected to be much higher for this particular year.  This is why hundreds of colleges and universities have changed their deposit deadlines for this year from May 1 to June 1.  According to the marketing and research firm, SimpsonScarborough, more than one out of 10 high school seniors who planned to attend a four-year college before the coronavirus hit were likely to change their plans.  Another one out of 10 left said at the time it was too soon to say what they would do.  That left open the possibility that 20 percent of students could be changing their plans.  Gap years may be gaining in popularity, and two-year community colleges could see enrollment increases.   Such decisions could upend the models that public and private colleges and universities use to build their freshman classes and to balance their budgets.  Challenging times!

Larry J. McKinney
Higher Education Consultant


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