• Beth & Tim Manners

Colleges Scramble to Fill Classes

The New York Times: "Of some 700 universities with a May 1 acceptance deadline, which include many of the country’s most competitive, about half have already given students an extra month to decide ... Some schools are waiving deposit requirements, particularly for foreign students, who are especially valuable to universities because most pay full tuition. And experts say that the number of wait-listed students who are now getting offers ... shows that even some of the most selective schools are acting more aggressively to fill freshman classes." "The coronavirus pandemic hit at a time when American higher education, which employs about three million people nationwide, was already suffering from a host of financial problems. Many liberal arts colleges have struggled to meet enrollment goals in recent years because of rising tuition costs, concerns about student debt and a shrinking population of young people. Since mid-March, when colleges abruptly shut down campus operations and moved to online learning, schools have announced hundreds of millions of dollars in losses and say that a $14 billion federal aid package will not be nearly enough to keep struggling schools afloat. Executives have taken pay cuts, endowments have shrunk, hiring has been frozen and construction projects have stopped." "Colleges have sent out optimistic letters to try to reassure prospective students that they will get a classic campus experience ... In a Zoom session, Texas Christian University said courses could be held in alternating shifts, with half the class attending live and half online ... At Cornell, admissions officers took 99 students off the wait list last week and extended them offers, said Jonathan Burdick, the school’s vice provost for enrollment. That is a fairly typical number, he said, but the university would usually wait until after May 1 to make that move."

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