May 1st marks a significant decision-making moment for highschool graduates around the country: where they want to earn their degree for the next four years.

In 2020, the decision making involves a variable that students have never experienced before.

In March we watched as the nations’ collegiate institutions all integrated remote learning to complete the remainder of their spring 2020 semesters. During the following months, administrators of colleges around the country released plans to return to on-campus learning in the fall, with a few adjustments.

At the University of Colorado, upper division seminars will return to their in-class setting while many general education elective courses will remain online to avoid filling 300 person lecture halls. The chancellor of the California State University Schools announced his plan to launch a campus wide remote learning hybrid in the fall.

As a result, college admissions have seen a decline in offer acceptances from highschool seniors, who value their education for more than an online lecture video. “It doesn’t make sense to pay 20 grand for an education taught through a computer” stated a New Jersey student who chose not to attend college this fall.

To fill freshmen student rosters, universities have referred to their waitlisted applicants. Even the more competitive institutions are finding themselves calling highschool graduates to offer admission for the fall of 2020.

The combination of low admission acceptance rates and online learning brings into question what lies ahead for the value of a college degree. Will employers appreciate a college diploma like they used to? Or will the new standard of education accept online learning as a respectable tool of education?