Cash Is Still King

Career College Central summary:

  • The 2013-14 academic year marks a half-decade since the economic recession hit, but concerns about the costs of attending college are influencing incoming freshmen more than ever, a new survey shows. The annual survey, The American Freshman: National Norms, claims that while more than three-quarters of this year's freshmen were admitted to their first-choice institution, an all-time low of 56.9 percent chose to attend it. Nearly 46 and 48 percent — both all-time highs — said price and financial aid, respectively, were "very important" in their decision about which institution to attend.
  • Among students who were accepted but did not enroll at their first-choice institution, about a quarter said lack of financial aid from that college was a very important factor in their decision, and 60 percent said the same of being offered financial aid from the institution they chose to attend.
  • The record-setting numbers are not an anomaly. Last year's survey found that financial concerns increasingly affected students' decision-making in ways both educational (where to attend college and what to study) and personal (why to attend and whether to live on campus). So it appears the impact of the 2008 economic recession has only gotten stronger from year to year.
  • The American Freshman: National Norms is usually released in January, but last fall's federal government shutdown delayed the results because the U.S. Education Department's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, on which CIRP relies for the report, was blocked for a time. The survey includes 165,743 first-time, full-time students entering 234 four-year American colleges and universities of varying selectivity and type.

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