College applicants are down, especially among low-income students, Common App says

The number of college applicants is down so far this year, particularly among first-generation and low-income students, according to data from Common App, in what the college application company is calling an “alarming trend.”

a person walking down a sidewalk in a city park: Students walking to class on the California State University, Northridge campus in Los Angeles.

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Students walking to class on the California State University, Northridge campus in Los Angeles.

The organization, whose college admission application is used by over 900 colleges and universities, analyzed application data from its returning members submitted through Nov. 16 — the early decision and early action deadline for many institutions this year.


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The Common App found that when compared to the same period last year, the number of unique applicants decreased 4% this year (659,993 applicants, down from 686,866 in 2019). This decline was greater among first-generation and fee waiver-eligible applicants, which each saw about a 10% decline in applicant volume, it said. It was even greater than the decline

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College applications dip, especially for low-income students

Fewer students are applying to U.S. colleges this year, with experts saying some schools could struggle to fill their incoming freshman class during the coronavirus pandemic.

a group of people sitting at a table using a laptop computer: Male teacher explaining female student at desk

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Male teacher explaining female student at desk

Through November 2, the deadline for early decisions at many institutions, the number of students filing the Common Application — the most commonly used method for undergraduate admissions — for the first time is down 8% compared with a year ago, according to Jenny Rickard, CEO of the Common App. 

Among students who qualified to have their application fees waived — also a proxy for their families’ income levels — the numbers are even lower. The number of fee-waiver students who applied to college using the Common App decreased by 16%.

“I am extremely concerned about first-generation, low-income students and underrepresented minority students applying to college,” Rickard told CBS MoneyWatch. “The pandemic

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Idaho OKs contract to distribute low-income education money

Idaho officials on Monday approved a contract with Florida-based vendor ClassWallet to distribute $50 million in federal coronavirus emergency money to low-income families to help children learn during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Idaho State Board of Education awarded the no-bid contract Monday that with various fees will cost the state about $2 million to administer.

The program will provide up to $1,500 per child with a maximum of $3,500 per family and help about 30,000 kids. The program starts Wednesday, and families can apply between then and Dec. 8. Applications will go out in waves based on need until the money runs out.

The board unanimously signed off on the contract that’s part of the Strong Families, Strong Students initiative program put forward by Republican Gov. Brad Little.

The money is intended to make it less likely for parents to leave the workforce or dip into household money

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In New York, SNAP benefits extended to low-income college students

Nearly 75,000 low-income college students in New York will be eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), according to an expansion of the program announced by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Friday.

The state will also roll out a simplified application process to encourage greater enrollment among older adults and people with disabilities, part of a comprehensive push by the state to reduce food insecurity, the governor said.

“From the community college student seeking to advance their career to the senior living on a fixed income, food insecurity and hunger are a reality for a wide breadth of low-income New Yorkers and we have an obligation to help them during their time in need,” Cuomo said. “These measures will help a greater number of individuals and families access benefits that will prevent them from facing the dire reality of food insecurity.”

Income-eligible students enrolled at least half-time at State University

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