Why it’s important to stay enrolled this fall

COVID-19 has caused some major disruptions among Missouri’s colleges and universities.

Students like you are now faced with the decision to enroll in fall classes or take the semester off.

A recent survey conducted by OneClass* found that some students don’t think signing up for a semester of online learning would be worth enrolling and paying full tuition.

However, the vast majority of Missouri’s colleges have already announced plans to re-open with in-person classes in the fall. And school presidents are currently working with health officials to develop safety guidelines for everyone on campus.

Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re still considering taking a semester off,:

Students who take time off are less likely to earn a degree.

About 4 million students with some college and no degree have re-enrolled in school at some point in the past five years. Only a quarter of those students end up completing college.

Life sometimes gets in the way of learning. Health problems, emergency expenses, family crises, and even global pandemics can come up unexpectedly. However, the best way to ensure that you’ll graduate on time, and in the cheapest manner possible, is to stay in school until your degree program is complete. 

Economic uncertainty is often the best time to pursue higher education.

Americans often turn to higher education during times of economic strife. Unfortunately, unemployment rates are up, which means that well-paying jobs may be hard to find right now.

An economic downturn is a good time to earn a professional credential or degree. It makes you an attractive candidate when the job market starts to improve. Studies show that people with a degree are also less likely to be unemployed, even during uncertain times like a pandemic.  

Many schools want small classes to be held in person.

Universities all across the country – from Ivy League schools to Missouri’s public institutions – are optimistic that some in-person learning will take place. Colleges’ large lecture halls are usually reserved for general education or lower-level courses. Upper-division, degree-program class sizes are relatively small, so those classes could still be held in person while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

A degree is still a degree.

As a survey respondent told OneClass, “Whether I’m in-person or online, I’m still paying to get the same degree.”

It’s totally understandable to prefer face-to-face, in-person classes to online learning. Just know that taking online classes for a semester won’t negatively impact the value of your degree. Future employers will see that you’ve completed and passed all the courses and exams your degree program requires. They might even commend you for staying on track under such abnormal circumstances.

This semester could be the most affordable one yet.

A surveyed college student said because of COVID-19, he isn’t expecting to pay for student housing or a meal plan this coming semester. Those are two pretty major expenses. If you choose to commute from home or take online classes this fall, continuing this semester could end up saving you money.


*This article previously contained a link to a published study by OneClass.com titled, “Will you withdraw if your current school only offers remote/e-learning option for Fall 2020.” As of December 2023, this study is no longer available online.