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KATU: Changes made to recruit students during pandemic may continue after Coronavirus
Author: Allison Mechanic
Posted: April 27, 2020

To watch the interview, visit KATU.

The campus of Portland State University is closed, but online, students are able to walk through buildings and down the sidewalk with 3-D views. It's one of the newest changes the University has launched to help students get a feel of campus without ever stepping a foot on it.

By adding new online virtual tools for prospective students, PSU hopes to show students what life will be like on campus once the school opens back up. While staff work to answer students questions like "is now the right time to even go to college?"

"There have been four to five different surveys run nationally on that question," explained Chuck Knepfle, VP of PSU Enrollment. "I’ve seen statistics all the way from a third of students are rethinking their college decision based on this down to about a fifth of students.

The issues concerning students range, but according to Knepfle most have to do with the effects of the coronavirus.

"We think that students are concerned about the disease and quarantine. We also know that a whole lot of families are facing some economic uncertainty moving forward," said Knepfle.

These concerns aren't just for incoming freshman, they're issues high school sophomores and juniors are also being forced to think about.

PSU says they are working with students to help ease concerns, but with so many uncertainties, there is only so much they can do.

"We have just focused so much on making sure that any concerns they have take that off the table," said Knepfle. "I say, let’s just worry about the important things, like picking the right school making sure you can afford it. Make sure you feel comfortable coming here and being on campus."

Despite so many uncertainties, like when campus will reopen, Knepfle believes that PSU will have a full class this fall and for years to come.

"From looking at enrollment trends during times of recession nationwide, schools like Portland State tend to attract more students during periods of uncertainty," he explained. "Students want to stay closer to home and students want to go somewhere where there is less financial burden on them."