Students Stressed About Finances Over Applications

Student writing in a notebook
Source: pixabay

There has been a substantial decline in college applications for the 2021-22 academic year according to universities across the U.S. The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on high school students and changed many students’ future plans.

An article by USA Today looks at data showing that fewer low-income students are applying for college amid COVID-19 and what that means for that generation of students. Common App data through Feb. 15 showed application numbers down 1.6% among first-generation students. In the same regard, only 44% of students using the Common Application had submitted SAT or ACT scores, while 77% of students had submitted them by February last year. 

“These applicant subgroups are still following a different year-over-year trajectory than their non-first-generation (+4 percent) and non-fee waiver recipient (+3 percent) peers,” wrote Jenny Rickard, president and CEO of the Common App, in a letter to members.

There are many factors that have led to the decline in college applicants. One of which is the lack of in-person contact high school students traditionally have with college counselors at their high school. With family and work taking precedence over college applications, students have developed a disconnection with their college counselors that has left them feeling deserted. 

Students at Wheaton College Mass. referenced the sudden increase in tuition fees in the year 2020. Many students had to enquire to the campus about financial help this academic year. The tuition increase is outlined on the Wheaton College website.  

“After returning from study abroad and discovering the change in my payment plans, the misalignment in tuition and unemployment support was made quite apparent,” said a senior STEM student at Wheaton College. 

Stress levels have been rising as more parents and students have been laid off and had to file for unemployment.

“When I returned from abroad, the stress level continued to rise in my family,” said a senior STEM student at Wheaton College. 

Staying at home is less expensive than living on-campus for many students and many therefore feel stuck at home with their parents and the increasing financial stress hanging over them. 

“I feel like I am having to rebuild relationships because there is this new learning curve when socializing in a virtual space,” said a senior STEM student. 

There are current efforts being made to relieve the financial stress of parents and students. Due to the Senate voting on Thursday, Feb. 4 on President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill, $40 billion will go to higher education for the purpose of preventing any type of student loan forgiveness over the next five years from being taxed. This relief bill will hopefully decrease the stress level of many families across the country.