Nearly Half Of Undecided High School Seniors Are Considering A Gap Year

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The impact coronavirus is having on the college plans of young adults isn’t exclusive to those still deciding on a college. Current college students are also reconsidering starting back up at a traditional school in the fall. Some 15% of respondents said they’re considering transferring to a more affordable college, a college closer to home, or an in-state option. Some 17% said they’d consider transferring to a cheaper option if their school continues with virtual learning in the fall and 8% said they’d do the same if the college they attend does not continue virtual learning in the fall.

A smaller amount are considering transferring to a community college. Just 9% of respondents said they’re considering dropping out of their current college to attend a community college. If colleges remain virtual, 13% said they’d consider dropping out and attending a community college. The vast majority — 65% — said they are not considering dropping out of their current college to attend a community college.

Attending an online college had similar results. Just 10% of respondents said they are considering dropping out of their current college to attend an online college. Interestingly, 12% said they’d consider picking an online college over their current college if their current college remains virtual this fall. But 64% said they are not considering leaving their current college for an online college.

Slightly more — 14% — said they are considering taking time off from college this year. Another 15% said they’d consider taking time off if their school continues virtual learning in the fall. But, again, the highest percentage, this time 59%, said they are not considering taking time off this fall. “For a lot of current college students, all options are on the table for next semester, and that is especially true if virtual learning continues,” the report says.

Finally, LendEDU asked respondents if they think the coronavirus will extend the time respondents originally thought it would take them to finish college. The majority (52%) said they thought it would. Just 36% said they didn’t think it would and 12% said they were not sure or would rather not say.

“Over half of all college students now believe it will take them longer to graduate because of the coronavirus pandemic,” the report says. “On top of the mental impact this reality has, the financial impact could be crushing as this could mean taking on even more student loan debt to cover an extra semester or two.

“But ultimately, the data from this survey seems to indicate that the colleges and universities themselves stand to lose the most in the wake of the pandemic as less traditional higher education options, like online college, become more competitive in attracting students.”