COVID-19 shapes decisions for students after high school

Study says undergraduate enrollment down 4% from a year ago.
Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 5:41 PM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - College of Southern Idaho Student Body President Angel Montes De Oca says his brother went to Boise State for his freshman year.

Due to COVID-19, De Oca’s brother is back home.

“He did attend CSI just a semester or two to take some courses just because it was closer to home and he could have done it online as well," Montes De Oca said. "He thought that was very beneficial.”

While CSI enrollment is up 3.5% this fall, students choosing a local, potentially cheaper option like Montes De Oca’s brother, hasn’t been the case.

“In terms of students, though, who had their way at a 4-year school and decided to stay close instead of going back to that, we haven’t really seen a change there," said CSI Dean of Institutional Effectiveness and Communication Chris Bragg. "We’ve seen about the same percentage of students that we normally do that have credits from other institutions but now are back at CSI.”

Nationally, undergraduate enrollment is down about 4% for the fall semester. A report by the National Student Clearinghouse shows CSI is doing much better than many community colleges though, as nationwide enrollment is down over 9% for 2-year schools.

With the constraints COVID-19 has put on learning, taking time off in between high school and college might be an option for those who may not know what they want to do.

“Gap year really allows students to take their time and really figure out throughout this next 6-12 months, what is it that you are really interested in,” said OneClass Chief Operational Officer Kevin Wu.

And as the pandemic won’t be going away any time soon, educators are always making adjustments.

“We’re definitely going to look in areas where we might have lost a few students and make sure that they know we’re here for them," Bragg said. “We’re ready to serve them whether it’s face-to-face, online or somewhere in between.”

“It will be interesting to see how many of the changes from this year, are lasting changes,” Wu said.

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