Taking a Gap Year or Semester During COVID-19

Posted: May 07, 2020 | Author: Ashleigh Zimmerman | Read Time: 4 minutes

Should I take a gap year because of COVID-19Rarely in our lives do we live through something that will be talked about in history classes. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown most of our daily routines and expectations out the window. The coronavirus has created a lot of uncertainty around what to expect from college this fall.

Here at Southern Utah University, we understand that higher education is an investment in yourself; a time to learn the knowledge and skills needed to expand your potential and future success. We also understand that this investment takes money and, because of current events, many of you may be considering waiting a year so that you pay for the in-person experience you want.

If you are thinking about a gap year because of coronavirus, here’s what you and your family should know.

SUU Offers A Deferment Option

PRO: SUU will defer attendance for up to six semesters. This gives students the freedom to change when they arrive on campus and begin classes. This is decided on a case-by-case basis by a committee, so the outcome is not guaranteed. To have your case reviewed, explain your reasons for waiting to attend SUU by completing the deferment form.

CON: Since the max amount of semesters you can defer is six you need to think about what you want your college experience to look like long-term. If military, religious, or humanitarian service is a goal, deferring now may limit your options later.

CON: It is also important to remember that you CANNOT enroll in another institution of higher learning while you are deferred at SUU. For example, you can’t postpone attending SUU and enroll at your local community college while you wait.

Your Financial Aid Package May Change

PRO: If your application to defer your attendance is approved then your institutional scholarships will also be deferred.

CON: Any need-based aid (pell grants, loans, etc.) is evaluated on a yearly basis so it cannot be deferred and will be reevaluated the year you attend. Athletic, local, or private scholarships may have different requirements and may not be transferable to a new semester.

If your primary reason for deferring is financial, you should know that SUU has programs, scholarships, and departments that are committed to helping you pay for school. Coronavirus does not need to prevent you from attending SUU if you want to come! Reach out to our Financial Wellness Team to explore your options financialwellness@suu.edu.

An Opportunity To Work And Save

PRO: Taking time off gives you a chance to work and save money. However, for this to happen you need to have a job that pays enough to cover your living expenses and save for school. As recent unemployment numbers can attest, finding a job during this crisis may be quite difficult.

CON: A gap year may save you money in the short term, but pausing your education also postpones any future earnings from your post-college job. When you consider reduced retirement savings and lost salary income could add up to over $100,000.

Think About Your Ideal Learning Experience

PRO: By taking a gap year or semester off you may give the world a little more time to sort everything out. This extra time could help you avoid the stress of dealing with a rapidly evolving situation, a potentially closed campus, and online classes.

PRO: Traditionally during a gap year students volunteer, travel, and explore different career options. These opportunities may be limited due to current events but taking time between high school and college can give you a great opportunity to think about what you want from your education and your life.

CON: During your gap year will you be having an experience that encourages personal development? Is your job helping you become more qualified in the field you want to pursue?

CON: Learning is a habit. Attending classes, taking notes, doing homework gets easier the more you do it. Everyone is different. Think about in your life if taking a break could make it harder to jump back into the swing of things. Dr. Craig Westman says “Sometimes, with delaying [school], life gets in the way quickly, and it becomes harder to return. The longer you wait, the harder it gets.”


At SUU our students are our priority and we want you to make decisions that are best for you. We are committed to giving you all the information and tools you need to be successful. All of our advisors, faculty, staff, and peer-mentors are here to help and look forward to hearing from you!

Tags: Financial Aid Coronavirus

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