The coronavirus pandemic has many families of prospective college students rethinking their choice of where to attend school, according to a survey by Quatromoney and TuitionFit.

According to the flash survey, which was completed this week and included 300 people, 26% of respondents said COVID-19 has caused them to reconsider their college choice, and another 12% are considering deferring college altogether.

One-third of the respondents indicated that they are rethinking their college choice because they want to be closer to home; more than 29% said they did not want to lose their tuition money; and 22% indicated that they were afraid of getting the coronavirus at a particular college on their list.

On the other hand, a majority of students and families polled (58%), believe the probability of getting sick is the same no matter where they go; 56% believe the coronavirus will be contained by the fall; and 29% believe everyone is overreacting right now.

The survey noted that geographic variances appear to parallel the latest concentration of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Families located in the West (31%) and Northeast (29.5%) were more inclined to choose another college because of the outbreak than families in the South (21%) and Midwest (23%). Moreover, families in urban communities (30%) are more likely to be rethinking their college choice than suburban (24%) or rural families (23.5%).

Of those who are rethinking their college choices, 46% said they would not add other colleges to their list for additional applications, compared with 8.2% who would add an online university as an option.

The survey pointed out that before the COVID-19 pandemic started, 84% of those families surveyed had students planning to move away to attend a residential college or university and 14% of them had students who planned to commute to a local college or university.

Respondents also offered extra comments, such as: “Most classes will be online by the fall of 2020,” “Going to community college; they already offer a lot of online classes if needed,” and “Classes will be online if it is still bad.”

Quatromoney is a fintech company developing consumer-facing platforms that make the purchase of higher education easier and more informed. TuitionFit empowers students and families to create real college price transparency and find their best financial fit.

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