As students are still wondering what the collegiate learning environment will be like in August or September, approximately 770 colleges are still accepting students for the upcoming fall semester! According to the National Association for College Admissions Counseling nearly 800 colleges and universities have financial aid and housing available to qualified freshmen and transfer students. NACAC’s comprehensive list is limited to NACAC member colleges and it’s based on voluntary submission by NACAC members; the number of nearly 800 colleges still accepting students does not reflect the true impact of the pandemic on the American college system. Before COVID-19, the number of colleges still accepting students, offering financial aid, and housing options would not be this high. Looking for more COVID-19 student-impact information? Find it here.As the pandemic picked up so did the concerns of high school students and parents. Noting the trend of uncertainty, many colleges in the United States pushed back the traditional National College Decision Day of May 1 to a June 1 deadline. It’s a hard ask for students to commit to a college during questionable times, as universities are not 100 percent sure what the fall 2020 semester will look like. If you’re still not sure where you’ll be attending school this fall, visit NACAC’s College Opening Update page to find universities with availability. You can find a school by state or country. Refine and customize your search based upon transfer or freshmen student filters, plus financial aid and housing openings. Joyce E. Smith, NACAC’s CEO adds, “Given the extraordinary circumstances of 2020, we hope this resource can help colleges that are still seeking students for fall enrollment to connect with students who haven’t yet found a place to attend.” NACAC’s college opening tool is updated by both public and private colleges often and will remain available to students and parents until June 30.A CNBC article sites a college comparison site Niche’s survey that “57%, of seniors are reconsidering the schools on their list.” The autumn campus environment in the U.S. comes as a mixed bag of possibilities. While the country's largest public, four-year college system, the University of California, has decided to cancel all in-person classes this fall, some colleges are choosing to do the opposite. The number of high school seniors that have decided to take a gap year has substantially increased and community college enrollment mimics the same surge. However, enrollment at public and private four-year universities has decreased. These colleges are in dire need of students; and as a result, the admissions process has adjusted because of the 2020 enrollment decline. While it’s a hard time for the U.S. economy and higher ed systems, there are some ways soon-to-be college students can use these unsettling times to their advantage. Here are three things you should do as soon as possible if you’re a student that has not yet made a final college decision for the fall term:1. Ask for More Financial Aid: If you have committed to a college, now’s a good time to ask for more financial aid—REALLY! Given the big drop in FAFSA applications and the number of students deciding not to attend this fall you may have more financial aid available. Some states are pleading with students to submit before their state specific FAFSA deadlines. As deadline extensions have been made there’s still a scary number of state-specific aid, in addition to federal FAFSA, available. An article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reflects this common state concern as Pennsylvania FAFSA applications have dropped by 9%, even after pushing their state-grant deadline back two weeks. There is still money there, but fewer students are claiming it. Parents and students can use this to their advantage. 2. Revisit Your Wait-Listed Colleges: Maybe your top choice college put you on a wait list. If so, reach out to the admission office to show you’re still interested. Enrollment numbers are down nationwide, and it’s likely they’re facing pressure to fill seats. You could find yourself bumped from the wait list to student status. In a way, the Coronavirus pandemic gave the wait list a concept makeover. And, of course, while you’re at it. You need to discuss your financial aid package. You have negotiation room here, remember that! 3. Apply for four scholarships in June! That’s only one scholarship application a week—Make it a goal. There are several exclusive June 2020 scholarships you should check out.
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