Withology Podcast: Episode 10 – Ed Mahlman Listen Now



Crisis in Higher Education:

Pandemic May Cause 40% of High School Seniors to Delay College

National survey finds critical concerns include student safety, lack of communication from schools

PHILADELPHIA (April 14, 2020) – A nationally representative survey released today found that six out of ten parents of college-bound high school seniors have not received any information about schools’ safety plans for the fall term, and four out of ten parents say the COVID-19 crisis may prompt their children to delay going to college.

These are among the results of an independent survey commissioned by Brian Communications in conjunction with Dynata – the world’s largest first-party data and insights platform. The report evaluated 405 parents of high school seniors likely to attend a college or university after high school.

Additional key findings of the survey, aimed at gauging how the COVID-19 crisis has impacted parental decisions about their high school seniors’ academic future, included:

85% need more information on what colleges and universities are doing to ensure student safety next year.

4 in 10 would now prefer their child to attend a college or university closer to home.

65% say the pandemic has made them more cautious about the financial impact of tuition.

“The incoming freshman class is the lifeblood of a healthy university or college. What we’re seeing in this survey indicates that parents of graduating seniors have deep concerns connected to this outbreak that could threaten the long-term viability of institutions if they don’t respond in the near term.”

Brian Tierney
CEO of Brian Communications


When asked what colleges and universities can do to make them feel better about their children’s academic future, many parents expressed a need for proactive communication on how colleges and universities are handling the crisis, addressing safety and providing more options for financial aid and distance learning.


“There’s always been a need for higher education institutions to communicate their plans regarding student safety and financial aid, and now that need is even more acute. It’s natural that parents are anxious. Even when circumstances are in constant flux, such as in the midst of the current pandemic, institutions of higher learning can help parents of college-bound students by providing clear and continuous communication.”

David Demarest
Senior Advisor at Brian Communications
Demarest formerly served as Vice President for Public Affairs at Stanford University


While parents and high school seniors are feeling anxious about their academic future, data also shows they remain hopeful and optimistic. Among parents surveyed, more than two thirds responded that they might consider paying for their child to attend their first-choice college or university, if distance learning is an option.


COVID-19 and Higher Education


As we continue to sort through the long and short-term implications of the pandemic, these findings emphasize that higher education institutions need to take early and proactive action.

Our Senior Advisor, David Demarest, shares Best Practices on Leading Through the COVID-19 Crisis.

We're Here to Help. Let's Get Started.

Contact Us