Along with all the waitlist offers we’ve already started to see for Round 2, there’s one more unfortunate side effect of coronavirus on the admissions cycle right now, and that’s unfortunately a tightening of the pocketbook and a decrease in the amount of scholarships that schools are likely to dole out.
This is for several reasons, including:
- They’re admitting more applicants than usual, because they expect yield to go down (yield is the ratio of accepted students who actually take them up on the offer of admission, and pay a deposit and enroll)
- The stock market, in case you haven’t heard, is in the dumps
That last point has three impacts. Because of the very significant devaluing of the stock market:
- The schools’ endowments have taken a major hit
- Deep-pocketed alumni may suddenly find themselves in a less-generous position — the schools can’t count on the level of gifts coming in from generous philanthropists
- Fewer students are going to pay cash for their tuition; this hits more on the undergrad side where a decent percentage of parents foot the bill for their kids’ education, but it can still be a factor in graduate tuition receipts
The schools do have a good chunk of money already allocated for scholarship offers in Round 2. However, they’re going to be setting more of that aside for possible use with admits for Round 3, given how much emphasis they’re now placing on keeping their admissions cycles open for longer. So it’s not like nobody’s gonna get any free money. They’re also conscious of the reality that the longer this coronavirus thing progresses, the more financial trouble some applicants and admits may find themselves in, due to layoffs and job losses. That doesn’t usually affect a school’s ability to offer free money, but the admissions offices are going to want to have some tools in their toolbet in order to entice some in-demand strnog-profile candidates to actually matriculate there. It might be easier than normal to get an admit to a lot of schools in the coming few months, but it’s likely going to be much much harder to also see some hefty scholarship awards coming along with the admit.
And, if you’re one of many who end up on the waitlist, if you do end up converting that to an offer, it’s highly unlikely that there will be any funds available to offer you a scholarship along with that later on. The admissions season we went through last year, for the Class of 2021, was one of the only times we ever saw waitlisted admits also get some scholarship awards. This season is likely to revert to that previous state, where if you got in from the waitlist, you would consider yourself lucky, and not expect to also get tossed some dollars along the way too.
If you are currently waiting on news from Round 2, then we don’t want to squash all hope of getting a scholarship — but we don’t think it’s going to be an environment where you can play schools off each other as some folks have done in the recent past.
Basically what we’re saying is, in some cases, the schools will be motivated to try and work with you, if you have an admit in hand. But they are unlikely to be very generous with those scholarships, based on the tremendous pressures that institutions of higher ed are suddenly under. Most of the schools are freaking out about their endowments and worried about tuition coming in with the stock market in freefall. They’re going to be re-entering that previous era of fiscal conservativeness (is that a word?? the snarky brain isn’t working that great with all this stress and anxiety), as we all are now doing.
And along the same lines: If you’re planning on going to school in the Fall, be very careful with your credit right now, and take a hard look at your savings. Internationals may have a very tight market in trying to get student loans in the U.S. This is something that may not be visible yet in terms of overall impact on education, but we are betting it’s going to come soon. Hopefully the stock market has seen its bottom (though EssaySnark doesn’t actually believe that it has) — and we’ll start to see stabilization in all of these important areas of the economy soon.
If you’re collecting admits and offers of scholarship right now, be sure to update your School Targets in My SnarkCenter to let us know so that we can celebrate alongside you! It’s truly wonderful to be getting the good news, given all that everyone is going through.
Stay safe, BSer!
Coronavirus and the MBA
- Coronavirus and Round 2 decisions
- When will business schools reopen for on-campus instruction?
- Coronavirus: Standardized testing and Round 3 apps
- Coronavirus and You: What if you’re graduating this Spring 2020?