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No college tours, canceled ACT and SAT

The spread of the virus has also affected many of the traditions around choosing a college. For example, many high schoolers have cancelled campus tours, some planned months in advance. 

College admissions managers are worried about the effect on their incoming classes this fall. Hoping accepted students can visit later this spring, some colleges have also extended the deadline for paying a deposit to secure a place at the institution. The National Association for College Admissions Counseling, a trade group, has created a searchable database of colleges Education News that have altered their admissions practices. 

The virus is also changing the importance of a long-feared element of college admissions: the ACT and SAT tests. The College Board cancelled a make-up test date set for later this month and a May test date. The ACT pushed back an April test to June.

The cancellations could hasten universities' movement away from the tests. Critics of the standardized exams say they unfairly benefit wealthier students with the time and resources to prepare for them, and a few colleges have stopped requiring them for admission. At least two universities, Case Western Reserve University in Ohio and Mansfield University in Pennsylvania, joined that group amid the coronavirus outbreak. Mansfield said the new policy applied to those applying for fall 2020 classes, and Case Western said its policy would apply to the class starting in fall 2021. 

As uncertainty built for students, President Donald Trump announced last week the government would waive interest on federal student loans. But the Education Department has yet to say how the plan would work. 

Third-party contractors who collect loan payments haven't Press Release Distribution Services For Education provided clarity either. FedLoan Servicing's website said it was working with the federal government to “obtain further guidance. We will provide more information as it becomes available.” Loan servicer Great Lakes simply said on its website to check back for more information. 

Democrats want more help for borrowers amid the building economic crisis, pushing for debt forgiveness to help borrowers who are struggling to make their student loan payments. A Senate plan introduced Thursday gives power to the Department of Education to cover borrowers’ monthly payments for the duration of the national emergency declaration.  Borrowers would also be given a three-month grace period after the emergency ended.

Republicans are also suggesting student loan relief, although in a different form. In a bill introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday, loan payments would be paused for three months and interest wouldn't accrue. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos would have the authority to extend the suspension of payments for an additional three months. 

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