What are the COVID-19 rules? Having a sense of how a college handled the pandemic’s initial outbreak, the rules it set and its response to students breaking campus COVID-19 rules will give you an idea of what school life will look like. Brett Joshpe, a lawyer who represented students dismissed from Northeastern University over COVID-19 rule violations, says he got calls from parents all over the country who were concerned about the pandemic rules and their enforcement. “A lot of parents and [students] in general are rethinking what they’re paying for and where they are going [to college],” Joshpe says.
Make sure you can commit to rules set by a college before deciding to attend.
What is your — and the college’s — financial situation? Many colleges and students are seeing their finances change as the pandemic drags on. For colleges, Lakhani attributes some of the financial decline to decreased international student enrollment. He says there have been fewer international students coming to the United States over the last several years, and the pandemic only exacerbated the situation. “International students typically pay full tuition,” Lakhani says. “When you take the flow of international students out, universities have to make up that tuition elsewhere.” He fears that the cost difference could be passed down to other students, that programs or amenities could be affected and that smaller private schools may have to close. For students, the pandemic-induced economic downturn means you may have less money available to cover college expenses. According to a June 2020 survey by college study guide website OneClass, about 50% of the 9,000 students surveyed say the coronavirus pandemic has decreased their ability to pay tuition.
But even with a shifting financial landscape, you can still attend college:
• Select a college you can afford that has a strong financial standing. • Take advantage of scholarships, grants and other free money through the FAFSA before borrowing. • If your financial situation has changed from what’s represented on your FAFSA, contact prospective schools and request a professional judgment to amend your aid offer.
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