A National Survey of 300 Families Indicates 25.7% of Inbound Freshman Are Rethinking Their College Choice Because of the Coronavirus Pandemic

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Quatromoney & TuitionFit find that even with aid offers in hand from their college top picks, some may make a tough decision and change plans

Rethinking College Choice Mirrors COVID-19 Concentration

Students and families are feeling the impending pressure of the college choices they have to make, and the increasing unknowns are compelling many to put the college experience they idealized within a broader context

The flash survey, conducted this week by Quatromoney & TuitionFit, two companies focused on college cost transparency, also found that 12.6% are considering deferring their acceptance for a year so that they can attend their first choice.

“Yes” respondents were provided eight options to describe why they were rethinking their choice and encouraged to select all that applied, the top reasons selected were:

  • 32.9% want to be closer to home
  • 28.8% don't want to lose tuition money
  • 21.9% afraid of getting the coronavirus at a particular college on my original list

“No” respondents had six options, and the top reasons selected by students and families who are not rethinking their college choice were:

  • 58.3% believe the probability of getting sick is the same no matter where they go
  • 56.4% believe the coronavirus will be contained by the fall of 2020
  • 29.4% think everyone is overreacting right now

Geographic variances appear to parallel the latest concentration of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Families located in the West (30.6%) and Northeast (29.5%) are more inclined to choose another college based on the outbreak than families in the South (21.1%) and Midwest (23.0%). In addition, families in urban communities (30.0%) are most likely to be “rethinking” their college choice than suburban (24.0%) or rural families (23.5%).

Patrick Kandianis, CEO of Quatromoney offered that, “the impact on admissions will be hard to measure from this smaller data set, but, as an indicator, it could lead to imbalances in many ways. Some colleges may see an unexpected increase in acceptances, while others may see declines from both deferral and a change in choice.”

At this time, a full 46.0% of “rethinkers” said that they would not add other colleges to their list for additional applications and only 8.2% would add an online university as an option. Before the families heard about the coronavirus outbreak, 84.2% of families were planning to move away to attend a residential college or university and 14.4% planned to commute to a local college or university. Some respondents comments in this section of the survey included “most classes will be online by the fall of 2020” “going to community college, they already offer a lot of online classes if needed” and “classes will be online if it is still bad”.

Mark Salisbury, CEO of TuitionFit added, “Despite the coronavirus outbreak and the market volatility, students and families are feeling the impending pressure of the college choices they have to make, and the increasing unknowns are compelling many to put the college experience they idealized within a broader context that includes family, their longer term life goals, and increased concerns about return on investment after college.”

About Quatromoney
Quatromoney is a financial technology company developing consumer facing platforms that make the purchase of higher education easier and more informed. Our planning platform, launched in 2019, enables consumers and their advisors to better plan for the significant costs of a four-year degree by providing transparency on pricing and financing costs unique to each student and their family upfront. Learn more at http://www.quatromoney.com or follow us on Twitter @quatromoney.

About TuitionFit
TuitionFit gives students and families the power to create real college price transparency and find their best financial fit themselves by sharing financial aid offers, protecting personal information, and organizing real-time college price data so that anyone can find out what other students just like them are being offered at any time in the college search process. Join the movement to make college prices completely transparent at http://www.tuitionfit.org and follow us on Twitter @TuitionFit_ or LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/company/tuitionfit.

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Patrick Kandianis
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