Students opting for local education amid COVID-19

Updated: Apr. 16, 2020 at 6:04 PM CDT
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LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - Concerns over the coronavirus might be impacting where some students choose to attend to college.

“Recruiting now, of course, is different because we can’t really be face-to-face with any students that are interested in coming to Southern Union, so what we’re doing is reaching out to them any way that we can whether that’s through sending mail if they inquire about Southern Union, sending emails to them, or a video call,” said Southern Union State Community College Director of Enrollment Management and Recruiting Dr. Jordan Holladay.

Some schools are even changing the application process. Alabama A&M University is waiving the ACT/SAT requirements for first-year undergraduate applicants.

Holladay said it’s possible that students might not feel comfortable leaving their families to go off to school in the middle of a pandemic, leading to an uptick in local enrollment.

“Time will tell as to whether or not we’re gonna see more students do that," said Holladay. “I’ve watched a lot of webinars, and nationally that is something that they’re projecting, a lot of students are concerned about going away.”

Another factor is finances. A lot of families have been financially impacted because of COVID-19, leaving less money for tuition costs.

“A lot of students are concerned about the financial aspect if their family has hit some financial hardships during this time," said Holladay. "So, staying local and choosing somewhere like Southern Union that may be more cost effective for an education is something that could happen.”

At Auburn University, they’re prepared for more local students releasing this statement:

“Auburn University continues to offer an unparalleled student experience that remains a draw for students locally and throughout the nation. Auburn has been ranked No. 1 nationally by The Princeton Review for having the happiest students, and Money, Forbes and Niche have all determined Auburn is the best choice for students in the state of Alabama. Auburn remains focused on providing a robust student experience, and it is taking into consideration any students’ extenuating circumstances related to COVID-19.”

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