Giving Compass' Take:

• According to Dennis Pierce at Getting Smart, colleges are working hard to find ways of motivating graduates to still start college this fall despite COVID-19.

• Every summer, colleges lose a huge proportion of incoming high-school grads. Why are a large majority of these students from the first-generation or low-income population? How can we work to fund outreach for students who've been handed fewer resources because of their situations?

Locate funds to support your coronavirus giving response.

According to the federal Education Department, as many as a third of high school graduates who plan to attend college don’t arrive on campus that fall, a phenomenon known as “summer melt.” This year, amid the uncertainty brought on by the global pandemic, that number could soar—and colleges are taking creative steps to reduce this possibility.

Summer melt tends to hit students from low-income families the hardest, as well as those who are the first in their family to go to college. Sometimes students can’t come up with the money they need to enroll in college, and sometimes they miss important messages from the school they were accepted into or fail to complete the necessary documentation.

The uncertainty created by COVID-19 is likely to keep even larger numbers of students from matriculating this fall. Many students’ financial situations have changed as parents have lost their jobs, while others might balk at the idea of being on campus during a pandemic or taking courses entirely online.

To ensure that as many first-year students as possible enroll in classes, colleges and universities are using campus apps, virtual orientation sessions, and other innovative methods to engage with newly admitted learners.

For instance, the University of Findlay, a private institution in Ohio with about 4,000 total students, is leveraging its campus app to engage with accepted students more deeply through their mobile devices.

Leveraging a campus app “enables us to send push notifications to students,” says Rebecca Jenkins, Assistant Vice President of Enrollment Management and Marketing for the university. “They’re often hard to reach. We can send them emails, but we don’t always have the most accurate email addresses and they don’t always read and respond to emails, either.”

Read the full article about motivating graduates to attend college despite COVID-19 by Dennis Pierce at Getting Smart.