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  • Writer's pictureBeth & Tim Manners

Colleges Amplify Enrollment Incentives

The Washington Post: "Free classes! Free parking! Prime dorm rooms! More cash! The more they worry about whether students in this year of the coronavirus will show up in the fall, the more admissions officers responsible for filling seats at colleges and universities" sweeten the pot. “The gloves have come off ... You’re talking about a scenario where colleges need to enroll students at any cost,” says Angel Pérez, vice president for enrollment and student success at Trinity College in Connecticut. "All of this is driven, of course, by the existential danger that too few students will sign on for college this fall because of the pandemic, which is wrecking family finances and raising fears that campuses will not reopen anyway, forcing a continuation of online teaching." "In a twist of timing, some of the inducements are a consequence of a Justice Department action that forced college admissions officers to drop key parts of their professional code of ethics, which prohibited many of these kinds of appeals and banned colleges from pursuing each other’s students ... The ethics rules had blocked colleges from offering inducements to anyone who had committed to another institution or from trying to get students already enrolled at one to transfer." "About a quarter of high school seniors who already picked colleges are reconsidering where to enroll, a survey by the higher education research firm SimpsonScarborough has found; 20 percent say it is likely or highly likely that they won’t go at all ... Even before this year, institutions were collectively handing back more than half of the tuition they collected from their full-time freshmen in the form of discounts or financial aid, according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers ... Many colleges are already making overtures to students who had applied in earlier years but went elsewhere, asking them whether they would like to transfer and offering much more generous financial aid and no loss of credits."

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