High school seniors yet to take ACT could face devastating reality this fall

Some experts warn the virus could deter students from attending expensive schools or schools in big cities.

Many colleges and universities have extended the deadline for high school seniors to accept admission offers.

According to a report from CNBC, colleges and universities are extending the admission decision deadline for high school seniors to June 1st because of the coronavirus pandemic. Students were previously required to make decisions by May 1. 

As Campus Reform previously reported, high school students planning to sit for the ACT in April would instead sit for the test in June. Even with the postponed deadline given by a number of colleges and universities, however, students who have not yet taken the ACT and planned to do so in April could be denied admission to the school of their choice due to the pandemic fallout. 

Experts say moving the college admission deadline allows students and families more time to consider the financial implications the coronavirus could have, which could affect where students choose to enroll. 

“The investments that families set aside to pay for college are taking a financial hit, and parents who may have planned to pay for their student’s tuition — or even students who planned to work their own way through college — are now unsure if those jobs and paychecks will be available to them in the future,” one expert, Anne Huntington, president of the Huntington Learning Center, told CNBC. 

Huntington added that students who would’ve attended schools in large cities like New York City may now reconsider because of how the coronavirus has affected major metropolitan areas.

[RELATED: Prof warns coronavirus campus closures could have ‘big implications’ for 2020 census]

Another expert, Robert Franek, agreed. Franek, who is editor in chief of The Princeton Review, told CNBC that students are more likely to choose local and public colleges as opposed to out-of-state or private institutions. 

Others, like the group Admissions Community Cultivating Equity and Peace Today (ACCEPT), explained that families financially affected by the coronavirus need more time to make a four-year tuition commitment.

“The financial impact of the coronavirus is devastating, and certainly will touch everyone,” a memo by ACCENT read. “It’s deeply unfair to ask anyone at this moment to commit to spending $40-80,000/year while everything is so unsettled.”

The article also noted that college administrators and admissions officers are expecting international admissions to decline, which will affect revenue and financial aid funding. 

”Domestic students might be the well of wealth to draw from,” Arun Ponnusamy, chief academic officer of Collegewise, said. “For [students who need] financial aid, that is a huge concern.”

[RELATED: WATCH: Peyton Manning, Steph Curry surprise students in online classes]

Jonathan Butcher, a Senior Policy Analyst at the Heritage Foundation, told Campus Reform that schools should turn to creative thinking to provide stability during online learning.

“[Thinking creatively] isn’t the only answer, but it’s a way to offer continuity for students now while academic calendars are in flux,” Butcher wrote in an email.

Butcher also said schools should turn to private partnerships as a way to address financial aid shortfalls.

“In terms of finances, schools and policymakers should address the disproportionate amount of tuition assistance coming from the federal government,” he said. “Schools should look for partnerships with businesses—who may be struggling themselves, but will still need qualified employees—and consider ideas such as the “Back a Boiler” income share agreements at Purdue University.”
“Critically, schools should focus their resources on instruction when finances are tight. Focus on teaching and direct spending to the essential task that schools have of helping students pursue truth.”

Follow the author of this article on Facebook: @eduneret and Twitter: @eduneret