In recent years, May 1st has come to be known as “Decision Day”, the day on which high school seniors commit to the college of their choice. Even in the best of times, this practice is harmful to low-income students. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, colleges and universities worried about their own financial solvency and enrollment numbers might pressure students for an answer before the students are ready to give it – and before they have the information they need.
The Foundation encourages students to be thoughtful in their decision-making and to wait until they have answers to their vital questions. Scholarship Foundation Advising Director Teresa Steinkamp created this handy guide of Dos and Don’ts for students who are considering their options for the fall semester – and beyond:
- Do not pay enrollment and housing deposits at a college unless your money will be refunded if the college cannot hold in-person classes or house you on campus in Fall 2020.
- Do not commit to attend a college assuming you will be able to live on campus and attend class in person. It’s way too soon to know.
- Do ask lots of questions and be informed. What are the deadlines for paying deposits and have they been extended? What is the policy for refunding and what is the last date to receive one?
- Do not believe that a scholarship from a college to cover room and board means they know for sure they will host in-person classes or offer on-campus housing this fall.
- Do not commit if a college is requiring you to enroll in online classes for the Fall 2020 semester.
- Do not commit if a college won’t let you defer admissions, scholarships, and grants for a year if you cannot show up physically on campus this fall.
- Do not commit to a college with only an estimated financial aid offer for 2020-21.
- Do not factor in federal work study as “guaranteed” financial aid from a college; even if offered, a work study position must be secured to receive those dollars.
Still not sure? Contact The Scholarship Foundation’s Student Advisors for assistance.