Expert discusses what to do about college deposit deadlines

With so much uncertainty about what the fall semester will look like for college students in the wake of the pandemic, there are some things students and parents can do to better prepare.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) –  The traditional May 1 deadline for college deposits is fast approaching.

With so much uncertainty about what the fall semester will look like for college students in the wake of the pandemic, there are some things students and parents can do to better prepare.

Many colleges have actually extended their deposit deadlines by one month, hoping that by June 1 there will be more clear health information for people to base their decisions on.

Ultimately, a student lending expert tells ABC 6, it’s up to the student to contact each school of interest and see what their plans and their policies are for things like refunds.

Diana Imondi is a proud mom. Her son Christian Dias has had his pick of colleges.

“Christian was accepted of over a dozen schools,” said Imondi. “So we knew that making a choice was already going to be difficult.”

But now in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, things have gotten much more stressful and confusing for high school seniors like Dias, who are facing the possibility of committing to a school that may not allow them to come to campus in the fall.

“He came to me and said, ‘You know mom, should I just go to a state school and spend a lot less money if the only option is online?’ So I think for me I really had to do some research,” said Imondi.

Research is exactly what AAA Northeast Student Lending Manager Donald Kerr says you should be doing.

“When you’re deciding what school you’re going to go to, do you want a school that’s going to be very rigid and un-flexible or do you want a school that can generally be very adaptive to what’s happening for whatever reason?” said Kerr.

He recommends students and parents ask each school tough questions about their plans; like whether they’ll be refunding deposits if they don’t end up opening  campus, or if you do start off at a different school if you’ll be able to easily transfer.

“Really your job as the consumer now to approach those schools and get those questions answered from them so you can make up your decision,” said Kerr.

That’s what helped Dias and his family make their decision. He’s planning to attend Seton Hall.

“Ultimately they guaranteed that they would reimburse us our deposits not only for room and board but also as a student there if we weren’t happy should the option have to be online,” said Imondi.

Kerr also says now is a great time to ask for more financial aid, especially if you’ve been financially impacted by the pandemic, but you should start reaching out sooner rather than later.

“The best thing is definitely to reach out the school,” said Dias. After all, if you’re accepted there, they want you to go there. So I think it’s in their best interest to help out all of the families and all of the incoming students.”

As for student loans, Kerr says it may be a good idea to start applying early, especially if you’ve been financially impacted by the pandemic.

Ultimately if something changes with that specific school for the fall semester, you are not locked into a loan.

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