Wow...what a difference a few weeks can make! You may have been all set to move into your dorm and begin your fall semester, only to find the college or university you were planning to attend has switched course and is no longer offering in-person classes. There won’t be any campus events, masks must be worn at all times if you leave your dorm room, and the threat of an outbreak feels imminent. College looks nothing like you anticipated, and it seems rather tempting to take the year off. You might want to think twice on this one… taking a gap year is likely a decision that may have more consequences, particularly during a pandemic, than you think.
Let’s talk out the gap year ‘strategy’. This is a time when students either delay entering college, or choose to take time off from a college they are currently attending. The goal is to do what you need (or want) to do and pick right back up where you left off. Sounds pretty good… yet taking a gap year may mean losing touch with friends, falling behind or losing momentum to go to college and could change the trajectory of your life.
Students already enrolled who choose to take time off, run the risk of not getting readmitted (colleges do not have to readmit you!). Students who are readmitted often incur additional fees and find their financial aid has changed for the worse.Those who are not readmitted may find themselves in financial distress as loans have now come due. Some are under the impression that the coronavirus relief package will keep your loans at bay if you take the gap year for a spin. The CARES Act currently suspends loan payments only until Sept. 30, 2020. If the CARES Act is not extended, the six month grace period given before loans come due will expire and you will be expected to begin making payments. Yikes! Right?
Here’s a few of the bigger risks you may not have considered:
- Federal loans are only given ONE six-month grace period, once you use it, that’s it
- Private loans may come due even if leave school,even if you return
- Students who choose to delay school due to the pandemic are not considered traditional gap students, and may run the risk of not being readmitted
Maybe you want to take the year off, find a low-pressure job and make some money. This is another strategy to reconsider. Across the country we are seeing historic unemployment numbers similar to the Great Depression and in Massachusetts alone, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the state set a record high unemployment rate this June of 16.3%.
Your time has value, but how much value is up to you. What you do with the next year or two can change everything. The gap year is certainly not your only alternative. There is a smarter safe choice – attending Quinsigamond Community College. You can continue with your education from the safety of your home, earn credits to transfer to a four-year program and save thousands. There is support available from academic to financial and most importantly, you are not putting your future on hold. We have 3 types of classes for students to choose what works best for their learning style. We are also holding a virtual admissions information night on Thursday, August 20 from 4:00-5:00 p.m.
Make the best alternative to a gap year and apply for admission for the fall 2020 semester today