By CBSLA Staff

FOOTHILL RANCH (CBSLA) — Should they stay or should they go? It’s a question thousands of incoming college freshmen — and their families — are facing with classes right around the corner and the coronavirus pandemic forcing many universities online.

Josh Burdette will be staying closer to home for his freshman year, enrolling at his local community college, before leaving for Colorado State next fall. (CBSLA)

“We’re going to save $23,000,” Josh Burdette, a Rancho Santa Margarita resident, said.

Burdette made the difficult decision to stay local for his freshman year of college instead of heading off to Colorado State where classes will be offered online for the fall semester.

“I was pushing for going, because it was like kind of a thing like, ‘Oh, all of my friends are gone, and I’m kind of gonna be home alone,’ so it kind of hit hard that I’m staying home,” he said. “But I’ve kind of come to the point where I’m accepting it. I’m just gonna work hard, stay working, make some more money and then go off.”

Burdette has enrolled at his local community college, Saddleback College, and Colorado State will hold his spot for next year as long as he completes 30 units of coursework and maintains a 3.0 GPA.

And while Burdette has chosen to stay close to home for his freshman year, Foothill Ranch resident Katie Sumner will be moving to Fort Worth, Texas in a few weeks to start her freshman year at Texas Christian University where she was accepted with a scholarship that will cover more than half of the school’s $70,000 tuition.

Katie Sumner will be leaving for Fort Worth, Texas in a few weeks to start her college career at Texas Christian University, even though classes will initially be offered online. (CBSLA)

“I mean, I obviously got a part of my senior year taken away, and that was kind of sad,” she said. “And I know a lot of people don’t even have the option to go to school, and they’re all doing online, so if I have any chance of just being able to go to school and live somewhat of a normal college life, I wanted to take that opportunity.”

And, Sumner said, taking a gap year would have jeopardized her spot in the nursing program. But it’s not just Sumner who wanted to live near campus despite the fall semester starting online.

“It’s hard, but when I look at the upside, I think it’s worth it,” Sumner’s father, Kevin, said. “It’s something, like I said, she’s worked hard for and we want to support that, and when she gets on campus, we’ll realize that it’s not as bad as it could be.”

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