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September 23, 2021

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the academic landscape cannot be overstated. It has had a huge impact on everyone and changed peoples’ day-to-day lives in an instant. College enrollment decreased significantly during the pandemic, as students and their loved ones try to deal with the unique problems brought on by the pandemic.

Many students were faced with the tough decision to drop out of school or take a gap semester or year off. Other students were faced with financial troubles leading them to be unsure as to how they will pay for school. 

But the experts say don’t give up! Come up with a plan to go back – and know that there is help available.

 

In order to get back on track financially, Yanely Espinal, educational outreach director at Next Gen Personal Finance, suggests finding ways to generate additional income and learn more about what you can do with the money you do have by reading, listening to podcasts or finding resources online.

“Do everything you can to prioritize your education first. If you can balance work and school, then do it but if not then don’t be afraid to lean on your community for support,” Espinal said. 

Magdalena Hinojosa, senior vice president for strategic enrollment and student affairs, at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, said that if students had to take a semester or year off or had to drop out due to the pandemic, to re-enroll as soon as possible. Hinojosa stressed that these students should talk to a financial aid advisor within their institutions to discuss financial incentives and scholarship opportunities. 

For students whose finances changed due to the pandemic, most countries have set up student aids and low-interest loans to help students survive and complete their education.

“Many colleges are looking at financial records from before the pandemic and that is not reflective of your family’s current financial situation anymore,” Espinal said, adding that students should contact their financial aid office as soon as possible and find out what documents are needed.

Another move that the pandemic kickstarted was the transition to a more remote work culture. As a result, students have more options to work and earn money, even without leaving their vicinity. This extra income stream can help them miitigate against the effects of the pandemic

Hinojosa stressed that it’s never too late to return to school and that a college education provides opportunities for stability and social mobility.

“A college education is one of the few things that can’t be taken away from you,” Hinojosa said.









SOURCE: CNBC