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Survey: Students want to return to college but worry about paying for it

Published: Aug. 10, 2020 at 3:38 PM EDT
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WINOOSKI, Vt. (WCAX) - Despite COVID-19, many students aren't skipping a year of college. But they have significant concerns about paying for it. That's the finding from a new survey by the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation.

Earlier this summer, VSAC asked 675 randomly selected Vermont students who had filled out federal applications for student aid about their plans for the coming school year.

About 90% of incoming students and 85% of returning students said they’d be enrolling.

But if they had to take their classes online, 19% said that would change their plans.

And 86% of students said financial aid was key.

VSAC got $10 million in COVID relief money to help with that and has given more than 600 families an average of $2,300 of extra aid.

“So we’re saying to families, if your 2020 situation is different, and in a negative way different than your 2018 situation, appeal to us-- let us know,” said Marilyn Cargill, the vice president of financial aid, marketing and research at VSAC.

The survey also found students who said they had lost jobs, scholarships or investments during the pandemic or who had gotten sick with COVID were significantly less likely to report planning to enroll in the fall, compared with students whose families had fewer or no COVID-related stressors.

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