There is a question on many University Presidents’ and Chancellors minds. Will the coronavirus pandemic have a lasting impact on higher education? Many of Iowa’s colleges and universities are preparing for how the situation will impact fall enrollment.
A new national survey by the consulting firm Simpson Scarborough says one in five high school seniors believes he or she won’t attend college this fall because of the public health emergency.
Katharine Johnson Suski, admissions director at Iowa State University, says while the school hasn’t seen applications being withdrawn, it does know that many families are in difficult situations and that the school is ready to help.
Suski says Iowa State also is maintaining contact with incoming students from other countries who might be restricted from entering the U. S. because of the pandemic. Out of safety concerns, the University of Iowa has suspended on-campus visits for prospective students, and instead is offering virtual information sessions for families to learn more about the school.
Closer to home, Waldorf University continues to house international students who cannot travel home. Those students may stay on campus or at least in the area through the summer if travel bans are not lifted. Both Waldorf and North Iowa Area Community College campuses are closed but have numerous features on their websites to assist in enrollment and information about the schools. Their Financial Aid Departments are ready to assist all students with finding money to attend college.
Both Iowa and Iowa State also are making accommodations for students who don’t have access to their transcripts. Suski says Iowa State is trying to be mindful of the bind seniors are in as they finish their high school careers.
The three universities say it’s too early to say whether the situation will result in a decrease in enrollment. Both Iowa and Iowa State are coming off enrollment declines from last fall. Waldorf University had seen growth.