The count of high school seniors seeking federal college aid dropped by almost 50 percent compared to levels in 2019 in the beginning weeks of the COVID-19 health crisis, which was driven by a sharp fall when it came to students at schools with more moderate incomes, the Associated Press reported.
As of June 19, financial aid applications had fallen by 70,000 to mark a 3.7 percent decline for the application cycle as a whole, the AP reported.
Michigan, in one case, saw a 4.5 percent drop as of last year, according to The Detroit News.
The pandemic led to the decrease in a number of ways. Some students gained employment and put higher education plans to the side, while families that didn’t have dependable internet access grappled to fill out the digital form, the AP reported.
The decrease concerns officials who indicate that a number of students might choose to postpone college or skip it altogether. David Nieslanik, who is principal of Beaverton, Oregon’s Southridge High School, said per the AP report, “The consequences are that kids are going directly into the workforce. They’re closing the door on post-high school learning.”
The news comes as downtowns in places ranging from California to Maine contend with different levels of existential and economic suffering because of COVID-19. Still, nowhere is the pain more severe than in college towns. Cities such as Ithaca, New York, among others, have contended with a pandemic that has negatively impacted the hometown population and a student population that had departed town — without a set return date in some instances.
And the cash flow effects on institutions because digital learning will continue to become more apparent as the higher education system starts to devise a strategy for the semester to come. Flywire CEO Mike Massaro said in a recent PYMNTS interview, “COVID-19 is causing issues both for the cost structure of running an educational system, and on the families who are looking to send their kids off to study.”
In addition, a OneClass poll found that over half of university students indicate that they can’t afford tuition, as the pandemic has impacted the ability to pay for education for many families.