One in four high school seniors may change college choice because of pandemic: survey

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The survey finds that almost a quarter of high school students may change their college decision based on the pandemic.

One in four high school seniors may change their college decision as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new survey.

The survey, released Wednesday by higher education research firm Eduventures, collected responses from more than 7,100 high school seniors in March and April and found that about one-third of students have already experienced a financial hit as a result of COVID-19. The data seemingly confirms GW administrators’ statements about how the pandemic could lead to unplanned changes in enrollment in the Class of 2024.

“The greatest certainty in these uncertain times is that families are experiencing and will continue to experience financial instability,” Kim Reid, the principal analyst for Eduventures and the primary author of the survey, said in the release. “We may see some families rebound from initial losses, but we will see other families endure financial loss as layoffs move deeper into the economy. We feel that institutions must be prepared for scenarios with increased financial pressure on families.”

University President Thomas LeBlanc said at a Faculty Senate meeting earlier this month that a financial aid increase next year is “likely” given the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, adding that the pandemic could negatively affect non-local and international student enrollment.

The survey found that about half of students are worried that the pandemic may delay their college enrollment. Students whose enrollment decisions are impacted are more likely to be first-generation or non-white or live in a county that leaned Democratic in the 2016 presidential election, according to the survey results.

Officials admitted the most selective class since 2013 this year and have already accepted a small number of students from the waitlist to boost fall enrollment.

LeBlanc announced earlier this month that officials will halt the planning process for the next strategic plan, which included a planned 20 percent cut in undergraduate enrollment, in the wake of the pandemic.

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