New Survey Finds COVID-19 Will Keep Some Students From Enrolling in College This Fall

A survey by Simpson Scarborough finds 1 in 5 high school seniors are likely to not attend college in the fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic

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It's the time of the year when high school seniors start to look ahead to college, but the view has gotten hazy.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit in the middle of the college selection process and a new survey shows its affecting how seniors view college.

Simpson Scarborough surveyed 573 high school seniors who had been planning to attend a four-year college this fall before the pandemic hit.

Now, more than half of them, or 53%, say their families' "financial situation" has been affected by COVID-19.

According to the survey, 1 in 5 say they "believe they are likely not to attend college" next semester because of the pandemic.

"That's actually a really big number," said Elizabeth Johnson, founder of Simpson Scarborough. "If colleges take a 20% hit on the freshman coming to their campuses, that's a really big deal."

For the seniors who already decided which college they want to go to, 1 in 4 says their "choice has been affected" by the pandemic.

For those still deciding where they want to enroll, 3 in 4 said they are "taking COVID-19 into consideration" as they continue their process.

"I think it becomes such a personal choice and obviously it has a lot to do with finances for families," said Casey Near, the executive director of counseling at Collegewise.

She said it's up to colleges to be willing to accept transfer credits if a student decides they don't want to start someplace online.

"It's hard to justify potentially spending tuition at Northeastern for a semester when it's online when you could go to a local community college and pay a lot less or do something. Online is online school at a certain point," Near said.

According to the survey, there seems to be a lack of communication between colleges and high school seniors.

Forty-percent of students say they are not receiving "adequate information" about how COVID-19 may impact their enrollment.

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