College Bound

May 1 was National College Decision Day, when many students graduating from high school make a final decision about the college they will attend in the fall.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic that has been turning all aspects of life upside down for the past couple of months, many colleges and universities are pushing back the deadlines incoming students are usually required to make a decision by. 

According to an article from CNBC, prospective students are more likely to choose schools closer to home and more affordable. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect travel and economic conditions throughout the country, the possibility of attending a private university far away from home has disappeared for many students. The number of international students attending colleges in the United States will likely be affected.

These important decisions are greatly impacted by whether or not colleges will be online in the fall. While some universities are beginning to announce their plans for fully reopening this fall, others are still making decisions, and may not have a decision until later in the summer. Student retention rates could be drastically affected by these outcomes as well.

According to a survey by the HEDS consortium of liberal arts institutions, about 75 percent of students currently attending private universities (who are not graduating) plan on returning to their institutions this fall. However, the transfer of courses to an online format in the fall may cause more students to question the value of these online classes. There may be current students who choose to take a year or semester off if their classes are online. 

Due to the financial losses of this pandemic, including the potential loss of student enrollment in the fall, some colleges and universities may close their doors for good.

The pandemic will likely have some effect on Doane University’s enrollment for the fall of 2020. This last year’s incoming freshman class totaled at 325 students, according to a previous Doaneline article. For the fall 2018 semester, there were 259 incoming freshmen. It is uncertain if Doane will be able to maintain or increase its 2019 recruiting numbers.

In addition to managing impacts of the pandemic, Doane will have to compete even more with nearby colleges, such as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

It seems as though Doane is doing what it can to recruit prospective students, with virtual campus tours and other ways of getting information about life at Doane. 

According to a Lincoln Journal Star article, the University of Nebraska system will guarantee free tuition for some students from families that are at or below the state’s median income level. This may draw students away from Doane.