This week President Erickson sent out an email to faculty and staff saying there will be a 10% decrease in enrollment for Fall 2020, and the university should prepare for cutbacks—what could be a loss of $8.7 million. Additionally, the Jacobetti project has been put on hold.
We had hoped NMU would see an influx of students wanting to attend college, due to the drop of testing requirements, but with many unemployed and universities preparing for losses, the future is unclear.
It’s evident college courses are able to proceed online, providing an education for students and keeping professors employed. It’s unclear to universities when resuming normal activity can take place—if at all.
Clearly, orientation over the summer won’t be the same as well as campus visits we’ve come to know throughout the years. There is only so much that can be shown via virtual tours. It will now be more difficult to accommodate for each individual need of the student.
Even if things find their way back to normal and students are once again able to move into dorms and attend in-person courses, will fear be in the driver seat for parents not allowing this choice to occur? Will there be enough funds at the time to make up for the unemployment rates right now? Some may not enroll.
This is an unprecedented time where ACT and SAT tests were not available due to coronavirus shutdowns in schools and testing centers. About 1 million 11th-graders who were scheduled to take the SAT for the first time will remain untested by the end of May, according to the College Board. What was once a requirement must now be overlooked and perhaps off the table completely for years to come.
It’s obvious NMU and other institutions must make the executive decision to look beyond ACT and SAT scores as a deciding factor of accepting incoming freshmen, even if they are rescheduled. Additionally, accepting students may now be something that needs to happen sooner than later; universities like Oregon State University are already reaching out to high school graduates regarding their acceptance.
Although the opportunity to take the ACT or SAT was stripped away from high school students, at least now this pressure of attaining a desirable score is released. Who’s to say when these tests will switch back to being a requirement in the future, and would that be fair to the juniors of this year?
The course of ACT and SAT test scores as a deciding factor for college acceptance could be changed forever due to this pandemic. Regardless of what is done about it now, it’s never too soon to start preparing for something similar to what we’re currently going through that could take place again.
GPA and test scores can’t always be the main focus when we are trying to make it through every uncertain historical day. Thus, we are in support of NMU deciding to make scores optional. All students, incoming, transfer and return, should be handled with a certain amount of care when it comes to academics; we are
human beings first.