Personal Finance

Coronavirus will cause more high school seniors to pick local colleges


For this year’s crop of high school seniors, their freshman college year is full of unknowns.

Chief among them is where they will enroll and if they will even be able to afford it in the fall.

For now, National College Decision Day is set for May 1, the deadline for high school seniors to choose which college they will attend.

This year, however, a global pandemic and fears of a recession along with soaring college costs and record student loan debt will push more students and families to choose local and less-expensive public schools rather than private universities far from home, according to Robert Franek, The Princeton Review’s editor-in-chief and author of “The Best 385 Colleges.”

“When students and parents are nervous, they are going to make different decisions,” he said.  

When students and parents are nervous, they are going to make different decisions.

Robert Franek

editor-in-chief of The Princeton Review

The majority, or 70%, of all students will stay within 180 miles, or roughly three hours, from their family’s home to attend college, according to The Princeton Review.

“With the COVID-19 virus in circulation, students are even more likely to stay home,” Franek said.

Further, many colleges and universities cancelling recruiting events and campus visits.

“That’s going to have an effect on the decision-making process,” added Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of 

In addition to financial concerns and academics, choosing a school is also an emotional decision,…


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