The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many students to hit pause on their educations while colleges try to determine whether or not they can reopen for in-person classes this fall.
Uncertain application yields and enrollments due to COVID-19 have driven many colleges, some of which would really surprise you, to resort to previously banned recruiting tactics:
All to entice prospective students and to keep those that have already enrolled.
The more they worry about whether students will show up this fall, the more admissions officers responsible for filling seats at colleges and universities have started to sound like pitchmen on TV infomercials.
The gloves have come off and schools need to enroll students at almost any cost.
But wait! There’s even more!
Put down a deposit and some schools will offer to never raise tuition,
Others will give you early registration privileges so you don’t get stuck with early morning classes,
Still others are waiving fees and throwing in free food, free football tickets, and even free books autographed by celebrity faculty in residence.
The concern about enrollments this fall is unprecedented.
Additionally, because schools are no longer banned from going after students who commit to other schools by May 1st, the traditional deadline day (moved by some colleges this year to June 1st), guarantees that the already stressful and confusing admissions period will stretch well into the summer, with admissions recruiters trying to steal students from each other. Even students who applied in earlier years but went somewhere else are being contacted to see if they would like to transfer for more generous financial aid at no loss of credits.
Some institutions, including Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania, have even reopened their application windows.
Even before COVID-19 colleges and universities were starting to use very aggressive recruiting tactics. Then came the pandemic which forced campuses to shut down, and millions of Americans to lose their jobs…prompting students to reassess their college choices.
According to a survey by higher education research firm SimpsonScarborough, a quarter of high school seniors who have already picked a college are reconsidering where to enroll.
Meanwhile, many of the incentives being offered to students assumes that campuses will reopen on schedule. Either way, students and their families are in for a summer of recruiting frenzy from colleges frantic to fill their seats.