Grapevine-Colleyville, Carroll ISD graduates plan around pandemic ahead of fall semester

(Ellen Jackson/Community Impact Newspaper)
(Ellen Jackson/Community Impact Newspaper)

(Ellen Jackson/Community Impact Newspaper)

Grapevine High School alumna Elizabeth Reed had her freshman year of college planned out: She would attend the University of Alabama in the fall and bunk with a roommate from Connecticut that she was already getting to know.

But like those of so many recently graduated seniors, her plans were thwarted as the global COVID-19 pandemic bled into the summer months.

Elizabeth ultimately made the tough decision to enroll at an in-state university. The idea was to save money, said Janice Reed, Elizabeth’s mother.

“Do you really want to take out those kind of loans to do online courses if you’re not going to get the full college experience?” Janice asked. “She made the decision ... not to go, but it was not an easy decision at all. In fact, she’s not excited about her plan.”

As students weigh their options, there have been concerns over the possibility of declining enrollment at Texas institutions of higher education. Millions of dollars have been distributed to Texas colleges, including those most frequently attended by alumni of Grapevine-Colleyville and Carroll ISD graduates, to help offset costs related to the pandemic.


As students and institutions alike wade into uncharted waters and the fall semester looms, here are some of their considerations in the weeks before classes commence.

Students weigh options

While Elizabeth chose to change her college plans, other students are heading into their fall semesters as they had originally intended.

Carroll High School alumna Ana Warner is a senior at New York University, where she shares an apartment with her sister, Erica, who is a sophomore at NYU. Ana’s overall objective is returning to some level of normalcy, she said.

“If this pandemic ... does carry on for longer, I just would prefer to ... get on, like, living my life ... the best that I can,” Ana said.

Ana’s sister, Erica, said the decision to return to New York has been tricky since most of her friends will reside in the strictly managed dorms, she said.

“If a big part of why I want to go back is to see my friends, this is kind of limiting,” Erica said. “In general, I don’t want to get [COVID-19], and I specifically don’t want to get it and not have ... my parents around.”

Cindy Broder is the mother of two 2020 graduates of Colleyville Heritage High School. Her children, Scott and Sarah, are attending the University of Arkansas and Texas Christian University, respectively.

While Sarah is choosing to commute from home to TCU, Scott will be living in a dorm on campus. “It was better for him to be in the dorm just in case they do close down mid-semester,” Broder said. “The university would be easier to work with as opposed to ... an apartment.”

That doesn’t mean Broder is completely assured about the coronavirus.

“I’m nervous as all get out with him going because he will be in a dorm room with his bed seven feet from the next kid’s bed, and it’s a kid we don’t know,” Broder said.

Institutions prepare for reopening

A SimpsonScarborough study of roughly 1,000 students across the nation in April projected that four-year institutions should prepare for a 10% decline in first-time, full-time students.

A similar poll by Art & Science Group LLC found that one in six college-bound high school seniors were close to giving up on attending a four-year college or university as a full-time student.

As thousands of incoming freshmen grapple with difficult choices ahead of the incoming fall semester, local education establishments are confronting their own sets of problems.

Tarrant County College is one of the more popular choices for Carroll and Grapevine-Colleyville ISD graduates, according to a 2018 report from the Texas Education Agency.

In fact, it was the most popular among GCISD graduates. The University of Texas was the No. 1 choice among CISD graduates in 2018, with TCC coming in at No. 4.

“Tarrant County College is still [weeks away] ... from the start of the fall term, so it’s really too early to know how keeping most of our programs (except a handful of technical programs) online will impact fall enrollment, if at all,” spokesperson Suzanne Groves said in a July 18 statement. “However, the evolving higher education landscape is causing many students to wait a little longer before making a final decision about the fall term.”

However, Groves said there has been recent interest in the college among transfer students seeking to cut their tuition costs amid the pandemic.

Similar data is still being collected for a report compiled by Grapevine-Colleyville ISD regarding graduates’ plans for higher education.

“We collected data from our students in the spring regarding their intent to go to college; however, some may not have completed the survey and others may have changed their plans since May 2020,” GCISD Executive Director of Communications Kristin Snively said in an email.

The question of how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect fall enrollment has sparked statewide action. As announced July 22, a total of $118 million is being made available by the state of Texas through the federal coronavirus relief package to support higher education initiatives.

“One of the best ways to accelerate our economic recovery is to make strategic investments in our future workforce,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement. “These federal funds will provide targeted assistance to keep students enrolled or help them re-enroll in higher education so they can pursue new professional and economic opportunities for themselves and their families.”

The majority of the funding—about $93 million—will go toward the continued education of displaced workers and students whose families experienced negative financial effects due to COVID-19.

North Texas colleges were also on the receiving end of tens of millions of dollars in grant funds at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tarrant County College received a total of about $22 million, and the University of North Texas received about $29 million.

Harrison Keller, commissioner of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, spoke at a July 23 quarterly meeting about the status of higher education during amid COVID-19. He did not downplay the economic impact of the pandemic will have throughout the state.

“It continues to take an immense toll on Texas, and its full impact and associated costs are still unknown, but we know that those effects are being acutely felt by Texas students and their families, by Texas colleges and universities and by our communities,” Keller said at a July 23 board meeting. “This is the greatest disruption to Texas higher education since the end of the Second World War.”
By Gavin Pugh
Gavin has reported for Community Impact Newspaper since June 2017. His beat has included Dallas Area Rapid Transit, public and higher education, school and municipal governments and more. He now serves as the editor of the Grapevine, Colleyville, Southlake edition.


MOST RECENT

Artio Birth Care opened in October at 614 S. Edmonds Lane, Ste. 205, Lewisville. The education center offers classes and groups for people preparing for childbirth. (Courtesy Artio Birth Care)
Artio Birth Care opens in Lewisville, plus 7 more DFW business updates

Here are eight recent business updates from across the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Grapevine's Main Street Santa event was moved to the Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau building this year to allow more space for social distancing. (Courtesy Main Street Santa)
No-contact photos with Santa and more holiday events in Grapevine, Colleyville and Southlake

Families will be able to participate in events that employ a variety of COVID-19 safety precautions.

D'Ambrosio's #1 Pizza Pub will offer customers a friendly environment to enjoy a more contemporary style of Chicago deep-dish pizza. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
D'Ambrosio's pizzeria opens in Grapevine and more DFW news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Between Nov. 15-21, Tarrant County reported 8,791 new confirmed cases and 1,047 probable cases of COVID-19. (Community Impact staff)
Tarrant County officials urge caution ahead of holidays as COVID-19 cases surge

Between Nov. 15-21, Tarrant County reported 8,791 new confirmed cases and 1,047 probable cases of COVID-19.

The M Affect beauty salon has relocated to Grapevine and offers eyelash services as well as microblading and micropigmentation. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
The M Affect beauty salon relocates to Grapevine

The beauty salon offers eyelash extensions, microblading, micropigmentation and other beauty services.

On Nov. 7, the state of Texas marked 20 years of daily deaths on state roadways. (Courtesy Fotolia)
TxDOT urges safe driving on Texas roads

On Nov. 7, the state of Texas marked 20 years of daily deaths on state roadways.

Trusted ER Colleyville and Pediatric ER is now open and offers various services to clients in its 24/7 center. (Courtesy Trusted ER Colleyville and Pediatric ER)
Trusted ER opens medical center in Colleyville

Trusted ER Colleyville and Pediatric ER offers emergency and urgent care as well as radiology, among other services.

Eggsquisite Cafe also has locations in McKinney, Allen, Frisco and Rockwall. (Courtesy of Eggsquisite Cafe)
Eggsquisite Cafe opens in Southlake

Eggsquisite Cafe opened a new location in Southlake.

D'Ambrosio's #1 Pizza Pub will offer customers a friendly environment to enjoy a more contemporary style of Chicago deep-dish pizza. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
D’Ambrosio’s #1 Pizza Pub now open in Grapevine

The restaurant offers Chicago-style deep-dish pizza among other cuisines.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan for the state Nov. 23 for a vaccine he said could be available as soon as December. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announces COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan

The vaccine could start being distributed "as early as next month," according to a Nov. 23 news release.

Voters can cast ballots in person until Dec. 4 for early voting or on election day Dec. 8. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Everything voters need to know about voting in Grapevine-Colleyville ISD Board of Trustees runoff election

Coley Canter and Tommy Snyder face each other in a Dec. 8 runoff after no candidate won a majority of votes in the Nov. 3 election.

Laura Colangelo
Q&A: Laura Colangelo discusses challenges facing private schools during pandemic

Colangelo said private schools have adapted to remote learning and other obstacles in 2020 despite less revenue and a 9% decline in enrollment statewide.