From Texas Public Radio:
When the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. in the spring, it robbed many high school seniors of important milestones such as prom and graduation, and robbed them of the chance to say goodbye to their classmates. For some, it also took away their chance to set foot on the campus of the college of their choice for the first time.
Miranda Treviño is an Edison High School senior planning to attend the University of Texas at San Antonio this fall. She was looking forward to attending UTSA’s orientation this summer, but it’s been canceled. She attended the virtual version instead.
“I was kind of bummed out,” she said. “It was a really good orientation online, but I feel like I would have enjoyed it more in person.”
Treviño was already planning on staying in town before the coronavirus hit, but she may be joined by more of her classmates due to the uncertainty of the pandemic.
“I love San Antonio. So going to college here would just be great too,” Treviño said.
Treviño said she chose UTSA because she likes its kinesiology program. Her family makes less than $51,000 dollars a year, qualifying her for UTSA’s new free tuition scholarship.
“(The free tuition) was also a huge thing when deciding because I was like, ‘Okay, my tuition’s going to be paid for, everything’s going to be covered.’ I’ll also be getting money back, so I could use it for books or use it for stuff on campus.”
While Treviño has forged on with her plans to attend college in the fall, the decision isn’t as straightforward for other high school seniors, especially those who attend schools with a high percentage of low-income students located in predominantly working-class neighborhoods in San Antonio.
When the coronavirus hit, some educators worried that high school seniors would give up on college because of financial hardship.
“Parents are losing jobs, students are losing jobs. I’ve had students who have considered applying for unemployment,” said Fatima Montez, a college access advisor for the San Antonio Education Partnership, a nonprofit funded by the city to help boost the city’s college-going rate.