COVID-19 Creates Challenges For College Decisions


Courtesy of The University of Hawaii at Manoa

University of Hawaii at Mānoa has extended their application deadline to August 1, 2020 for the Fall 2020 semester

Mahina Kameenui-Becker, Staff Reporter

As the academic year comes to a close, many high school seniors still have important decisions to make about their futures. National College Decision Day is approaching on May 1, a day in which those who have not yet confirmed their admission and made a deposit to a single university must do so. However, with college visits canceled and increases in unemployment across the country due to COVID-19, this decision may be difficult to make for those stuck at home. In light of these unprecedented times, all colleges should push back their decision date to June 1 or later.

More than 200 colleges in the United States have pushed back their decision deadline to June 1, allowing families who are financially struggling during this time to prioritize essential expenses. The National Center for Education Statistics reported there to be 4,298 degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the country as of the 2017-18 school year, leaving these 200 colleges as only a small fraction of the institutions that students will be attending in the fall.

Many families are still uncertain about how much they will be able to contribute to their child’s education in the upcoming academic year. Aside from the financial burden of making a direct deposit on May 1, deciding whether to go to a community college, state school, or private university is a decision that should be made when families have a clearer view of their financial status for the upcoming semester, which includes factors such as pay cuts and unemployment. Gov. David Ige proposed a 20% pay cut for teachers and other public employees on Apr. 15, 2020, which would affect countless families in Hawaii, many of whom have children who are going to college in the fall. According to surveys published in the Kamehameha Schools School Profile from 2016 to 2018, 77% of seniors attend a four-year college or university after graduation, making this an issue that affects more than three-fourths of our haumāna.

Seniors who have not yet visited their potential colleges are now also forced to choose without ever setting foot on campus, as most colleges have closed their doors for the rest of the spring semester. During this global pandemic, all institutions need to allow prospective students and families more time to make a decision that will ultimately shape their future.