College and universities throughout the state of Michigan have taken a proverbial beating because of the coronavirus.
Both in-person and online components — along with a hybrid mixture — were used for instruction during the fall semester, with much of it implemented on the fly as postsecondary institutions followed the guidelines put forth by the state and local health departments to stop the spread of the virus.
Additionally, standardized college entrance exams like the SAT and ACT have been a fixture in the application process for most institutions of higher learning for decades and a rite of passage for generations of college-bound students. However, those were tossed out the window because of COVID-19, and hundreds of colleges dropped their mandates for a standardized test score this year as a result of the pandemic.
According to the Lansing-based Michigan College Access Network, the coronavirus has caused difficulty in college recruitment and enrollment, including an inability to do in-person college fairs, lack of student information due to decreased SAT testing and difficulty visiting schools to recruit.
As Michigan’s only statewide organization focused solely on college access and success, the Michigan College Access Network is working directly on behalf of the state’s higher education institutions — community colleges and public universities, as well as independent colleges and universities — on a rapid-response enrollment task force to help stave off the looming COVID-19 college enrollment crisis.
As of Dec. 17, the National Student Clearinghouse reported that undergraduate enrollment is down in Michigan 9.2% in comparison to the previous year. This is the second-largest percentage drop for total enrollment from 2019 to 2020 of any state across the country. Nationwide, college enrollment of high school graduates fell 21.7% last fall, which is eight times the 2.8% drop from the previous year.