COVID-19 has impacted almost every part of our lives, including the way that we go to school. But what does that mean for your college tuition? Find out as I explore the many ways that it is being impacted.

The COVID-19 pandemic has touched the lives of everyone across the world. With sweeping changes to the way we live our lives, it isn’t surprising that college campuses are being impacted significantly.

I’ll take a closer look at why college campuses look different this semester and how this could impact your finances. 

Why are some colleges offering a discount?

College Tuition And COVID-19 - How Millennials And Gen Z Are Affected - Why are some colleges offering a discount?

At the end of the spring semester, many colleges were forced to quickly usher students into a remote learning environment to combat the spread of COVID-19. With the unexpected change leading to many communication issues, many students were unhappy with the quality of their virtual learning experience. Beyond that, many students were faced with new learning environments that were not conducive to productive learning

Many students struggled to stay afloat physically, mentally, and financially. But as spring classes wound down, everyone hoped that the fall would bring the return of normalcy on college campuses. 

Unfortunately, that hope has not become a reality as many college campuses start their fall classes with a distinctly different look. Some colleges are not opening their doors to teach in-person. Some are offering online-only options to students that don’t feel safe returning to campus. Others are approaching this semester with a hybrid of online and in-person experiences to fit the needs of different students.

There is clearly a wide range of options for college students this fall. But one thing is clear – colleges are simply not offering the traditional experience that students have come to expect this year. Beyond the distractions and potential frustrations of an online school environment, students are also missing out on the key social experiences that they crave. 

Since everyone can agree that colleges are unable to offer their traditional experience to students, it is not surprising that some are offering tuition discounts to entice students to continue working on their degree. If you happen to be headed to college and need financial assistance beyond what your school is offering, companies like Credible can help you compare loan offers and pick the best one for you. 

Which colleges are offering discounts?

Although many colleges are offering deep discounts to students, others are simply pausing their planned tuition hikes. Here’s a closer look at those schools:

SchoolStateDiscountOnline or in-person options?
Williams CollegeMassachusetts15% off tuition
Combination of in-person and online classes
Catholic University of AmericaWashington DC10% off tuitionCombination of in-person and online classes
Spelman CollegeGeorgia10% discount on tuition
40% discount on student fees
Online only
John Hopkins UniversityMaryland10% discount on tuitionCombination of in-person and online classes
Hampton UniversityVirginia15% discount on tuition Online only
Georgetown UniversityWashington DC10% discount on tuitionOnline only
Paul Quinn CollegeTexas$2,235 discount on tuition Online only
National University California25% discount on tuitionOnline only
Lafayette CollegePennsylvania10% discount on tuition Online only
Rowan UniversityNew Jersey10% discount on tuition Combination of in-person and online classes
Thomas UniversityGeorgia30% discount on tuitionCombination of in-person and online classes
Clark Atlanta UniversityGeorgia10% discount on tuitionCombination of in-person and online classes
Rutgers UniversityNew Jersey15% discount on student feesCombination of in-person and online classes
Southern New Hampshire UniversityNew Hampshire
Incoming freshmen will enjoy a tuition free first year. After their first year, these incoming freshmen will only pay $10,000 instead of $31,000 for tuition each year.Online only
Belhaven UniversityMississippiFor all students that enroll in undergraduate classes this semester, they will receive a full tuition scholarship for any Online Master’s Degree program offered by Belhaven UniversityOnline only

Which universities are freezing tuition rates?

Although many colleges are offering steep discounts to students, others are simply pausing their planned tuition hikes. Here’s a closer look at those schools:

SchoolStateTuition freeze detailsOnline or in-person options?
Bucknell UniversityPennsylvaniaThe school postponed a 3.5% increase to the cost of attendanceIn-person and online options
Easton College
PennsylvaniaThe school reversed the planned 3.75% increase to the cost of attendance and offered a 10% discount to students studying from homeIn-person and online options
West Chester University of PennsylvaniaPennsylvaniaThe school did not increase tuition this semester for the first time in 38 years. Combination of in-person and online classes
University of NebraskaNebraskaThe school implemented a two-year tuition freeze.Combination of in-person and online classes
Ohio Wesleyan UniversityOhioThe school canceled a 3% tuition increase.Combination of in-person and online classes
College of William and MaryVirginiaThe school canceled a 3% tuition increase.
Combination of in-person and online classes
Delaware Valley UniversityPennsylvaniaThe school approved a tuition freeze for this academic year. Combination of in-person and online classes
Kansas City UniversityMissouriThe school rescinded a 3% tuition increase.Combination of in-person and online classes
Virginia TechVirginiaThe school approved a tuition freeze this month. Combination of in-person and online classes
Duke UniversityNorth Carolina
The school will rescind the planned 3.9% tuition increase. Combination of in-person and online classes
Central MichiganMichiganThe school has decided to freeze any tuition increases.Combination of in-person and online classes

What if my university isn’t offering a discount?

College Tuition And COVID-19 - How Millennials And Gen Z Are Affected - What if my university isn’t offering a discount?

If you don’t see your university on the list of discounted tuition, don’t lose hope yet! Many students and families are reporting the financial aid offices are more willing to negotiate tuition arrangements at the moment.

Although you cannot force your college to offer a discount, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Before you approach the financial aid office with your request, prepare yourself. You should outline clear examples of how the upcoming fall semester isn’t the same learning experience. Additionally, you should be prepared to address how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected your personal finances. 

It can be scary to approach your college with a discount request. But simply asking the question could save you thousands!

How are tuition discounts affecting Millennials?

Let’s take a look at how these changes are impacting Millennials. 

The latest in a string of economic disruptions

Millennials, young adults between the ages of 22 and 38, comprise a generation with a long history of economic turmoil. Although Millennials are one of the youngest generations, they’ve already been impacted by several major economic events. 

Anyone remember the Great Recession? That’s when many Millenials have their first memories of money. And unfortunately, many of those memories have left economic scars. With average Millennial student debt burdens just under $30,000, the discounted college tuition comes too late for most. 

Graduate school opportunities

With widespread job losses, some are predicting that graduate student enrollment will rise. For Millenials, that means they could have the opportunity to turn a career interruption into an opportunity. 

Student discounts offered at some universities are not just available to undergraduates. As a Millenial, you could have the ability to enroll in graduate classes at a discount.  

What about Gen Z?

Gen Z, born between 1996 and 2015, is another generation that is significantly impacted by these college discounts. Currently, the older component of Gen Z is attending college. In fact, many in the freshmen class this year will be Gen Zers. 

With that, they stand to gain the most from these tuition discounts. As a current college student, they will have the opportunity to minimize their student loans through these discounts and tuition freezes. However, they will also miss out on a year of coveted memories. 

Are student loans being impacted?

Beyond discounts for tuition, student loan financing is also being impacted by COVID-19. Here’s what you need to know. 

Impacts on new student loan debt

If you plan to take out new student loans this year, you’ll be happy to learn about a dramatic rate cut. The student loan interest rate for new federal loans on undergraduate tuition has dropped from 4.53% to 2.75%.

With a deeply discounted student loan interest rate, your student loan’s total cost will be more affordable. In fact, you may be able to save thousands of dollars over the course of your loan!

Impacts on existing student loan debt

If you have existing student loans, you will likely be aware that your federal student loans have been placed in administrative forbearance. That means that you can stop making payments without a penalty. Plus, the interest rate has been reset to 0% so that your loans won’t continue to grow if you are unable to make payments. 

College Tuition And COVID-19 - How Millennials And Gen Z Are Affected - CredibleBeyond the assistance options offered to help you manage your federal student loans, this low-interest-rate environment could provide the right opportunity to refinance your private student loans. Before you write off the possibility, check out your rates with a quick assist from Credible

Credible can help you find the best refinancing opportunities available in a matter of minutes. Once you have the best offer, compare it to your current loan. If you are able to save thousands with a refinance, why not give it a try? You will find that Credible makes the process quick and painless. Plus, the tool is completely free to use!

Should you still take out student loans to fund your education this year?

The changing times can make it difficult to stay on track to graduation. But the discounts offered by colleges across the country could make the decision to continue school less of a financial burden. However, you may still need to take out student loans to fund your degree. 

You’ll have to decide for yourself whether taking out student loans or not is right for your financial future. Don’t let COVID stop you from pursuing your education! But if you can secure admission at a more affordable college closer to home, it might be a good opportunity to complete credits without paying an arm and a leg. 

Make sure to shop around for new student loans

If you have the opportunity to lower your overall college costs, then take advantage of that opportunity. Of course, not everyone will have that option. But student loans can help you make up the difference. 

College Tuition And COVID-19 - How Millennials And Gen Z Are Affected - EarnestBefore you make the decision to move forward, make sure to check out Earnest. The lender offers some of the lowest cost student loan options in the industry. When you work with Earnest, you won’t have to worry about fees or outlandishly high interest rates. Instead, you can enjoy flexible payment options and generous loan amounts. 

You’ll have the best experience with Earnest if you have above-average credit and are seeking a large student loan. As you work with the company, you’ll be able to take advantage of no application or origination fees. Plus, there are no late fees or prepayment penalties once you’ve obtained the loan. 

Will the college experience be different this fall?

College Tuition And COVID-19 - How Millennials And Gen Z Are Affected - Will the college experience be different this fall?

If you are planning to attend college this fall, then be prepared for an entirely new landscape. Unlike the traditional college experience, social events might be harder to come by and bonding experiences will be conducted at arm’s length. 

With that, it is entirely normal to consider switching up your college plans this semester. Perhaps a more affordable solution for the upcoming semester is a better fit for your online learning experience? Take some time to weigh the pros and cons before moving forward. It is completely okay to take a step back and consider your options in a quickly changing world. 

Summary

The college experience for fall 2020 will look unlike any we’ve ever seen before. With that, some colleges are offered discounts to entice students to continue with their degree programs. Will you be taking advantage of these tuition discounts this fall?

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About the author

Total Articles: 62
Sarah Sharkey is a personal finance writer covering retirement, investing, debt, savings, credit cards, mortgages, and student loans. Additionally, she is the founder of Adventurous Adulting, a personal finance blog dedicated to helping readers tackle their money and take control of the adventure of life. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter.