2020 has been full of unique challenges for educators and students. Many of you are juggling shifting deadlines, new enrollment processes, and new systems for sending students to college this year. In our September 2020 webinar, we break down how to help students plan for college during COVID-19 and share resources to keep you on track. More resources like those in this webinar can be found in the Texas OnCourse Academy under College Costs, Admissions and Application Process, and Financial Aid Application Process.
This month we were joined by Dr. Dakota Doman, senior director for strategy and policy at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Dr. Doman led us through an informative discussion covering enrollment trends at both two-year and four-year institutions, admission updates, tuition adjustments, and changes in testing requirements.
When it comes to college planning during COVID-19, here are three things Dr. Doman says you should know:
- Make sure students are filling out the FAFSA and TASFA. Students are likely to be even more distracted this year, and telling them once may not be enough. Follow up with students about filling out financial aid applications, even if you are not their adviser.
- Colleges may cost more this year. Make sure you are communicating about extra fees to students and families. Many families are under the impression that college costs will be down due to COVID-19. In fact, tuition has increased by up to 2.5% at some institutions due to an increase in online course offerings.
- Many Texas schools will be test-optional this year. COVID-19 has disrupted regular SAT and ACT testing. Check to see if your student’s preferred institution is requiring these tests. Some schools are waiving test requirements either permanently or for the remainder of the school year.
Dr. Doman also shared the Coordinating Board’s new advising chatbot, AskADVi. ADVi makes it easy for students to get answers to college and career questions 24/7 via text. Students can opt in by texting “COLLEGE” to 512-829-3687. Find out more about ADVi at www.askadvi.org.
Kaitlyn Watson, college and career coordinator at Jarrell ISD and Texas OnCourse leader fellow, shared these tips for empowering students in a virtual, hybrid, or simply uncertain environment:
- Create opportunities for students to take on responsibilities
- Build instruction in bite-size pieces
- Identify ways to help students toward self-efficacy
Our content and resources team also shared this Tuition Guarantee Programs handout. Use this handout to help students locate tuition guarantee programs and requirements. You can find more resources like this in the Texas OnCourse Academy. Look for the College Costs module.
Other helpful resources include the College and Career Support Advising Guide, a new advising guide for educators from the Texas College Bridge Program. Future Focused TX is another great resource for educators, connecting Texas high school counselors and students with free college persistence and matriculation resources.
There are other important tips and resources discussed in the webinar. Watch the webinar recording for more, and visit the modules on College Costs, College Admissions and Application Process, and Financial Aid Application Process in the Texas OnCourse Academy for additional learnings and resources.