Since a higher percentage of students deferred last fall due to COVID-19, will there be less spots available for my child, making it harder to get into the schools my child wants to attend?
I have been getting this question a lot lately from clients and people attending my webinars. In speaking with college administrators and through research, the clear answer is no.
Most colleges are going to be more than happy to admit more students for the Class of 2025.
If you think about it, this makes perfect sense. Almost all colleges lost revenue last year with current students being sent home in the spring due to COVID-19. Many of them refunded some of the room and board. Then, when it came time to have the new class this past Fall, many more students deferred than in past years – another loss of revenue.
For Fall 2021 the colleges are going to want to make up some ground! They will welcome the kids that deferred and also welcome a new incoming class that just graduated from high school. Most colleges are saying they will make it work, potentially with a slightly larger class.
School administrators that I have spoken with have asked me to share with parents not to stress about this.
The only schools where there may be an issue are colleges with small enrollments that cannot expand their class size due to capacity issues.
The upshot is don’t stress about this!
Learn How to Save Thousands
On The Cost of College
Another question I am getting is: will my child be able to get merit aid if they don’t submit test scores?
Let me back up a minute and give some background before I answer this question.
Colleges set a cost of attendance each Fall that includes tuition/fees, room & board, books, transportation, and personal expenses.
As we all know, the cost of college has been going up for decades.
One thing you might not know is that many families do not pay full price. If you understand how financial aid works and how colleges are discounting the cost of college, you can receive significant discounts on the cost of college.
Just to be clear, when I say significant, I am talking about $5,000- $35,000 per year in savings!
One of the ways colleges discount is through awarding what is called merit aid. This aid is offered through the Office of Admissions. It is not based on financial need. Bill Gates’s kids could be awarded merit aid. The colleges are offering this aid because they want to entice the student to attend their college.
In a pre-pandemic world, colleges usually awarded merit aid based on grades and test scores which creates an interesting situation with so many students not being able to take the SAT and ACT due to testing date cancellations.
Colleges still want and need to discount their cost of attendance, so most colleges are figuring out how they will award merit aid without test scores.
What I told parents months ago remains true – colleges will still award merit aid without test scores. If you look on most college websites in the section where they talk about being “testing optional,” you will see some info about how they will be considering all eligible students for merit regardless of whether or not they submitted test scores.
Discounting the cost of college is how college is priced and colleges that offer nice discounts in the form of merit aid will most likely continue this practice to keep students coming in the door each Fall.
Almost half of the families I work with receive merit aid as their only discount. They are not eligible for need-based aid, so without merit aid the parents would be paying full price. This is not affordable for most families in the US, especially with the cost of attendance at the most expensive colleges topping $80,000 last year.
So, it’s more important than ever to do your homework on how the colleges on your child’s list are discounting and how that has been tweaked due to the pandemic.