LOS ANGELES — As colleges grapple with how to stay open this fall, many students are questioning whether to enroll at all.
Some students may even be considering a gap year.
An annual survey by the College Savings Foundation found more than a third will either attend community college to save money or take a gap year.
Are you considering taking a gap year from college? Here’s what you need to know:
Gap year programs are limited.
Universities can only grant a certain number of gap years.
If they have too many students taking a gap year, they won’t meet their yield this year.
The sooner you apply, the better chances of getting approved by your college or university to take the gap year.
If you have scholarships, you could potentially lose them.
You are risking forfeiting that scholarship which would have been renewable.
And because you’re not enrolled full time at school, you’ll have to make student loan payments six months after you leave school.
If you take a gap year, you might have to reapply to regain admission
According to the Department of Education, even with an approved leave of absence, you can miss only 180 days in a 12-month period.
Rather than taking a gap year, what are some other options?
- Take a gap semester instead of a full year — If you decide not to take classes this semester, work with your school to take an official leave of absence.
- You could reduce your class load — Students can take fewer classes and still maintain some of their financial aid benefits while making progress toward graduation.
- Take online classes at a community college — Officials say you should apply sooner than later and that spots are filling up. A lot of the community colleges reported they are facing over-enrollment.
Students are encouraged to apply and soon as possible and to check with your university to make sure the classes will transfer.
Best way to be proactive: talk to your college or university and ask them about all these options.