Cost And Financial Aid Increasingly Influence Students’ Choice Of College

Career College Central summary:

  • Academic reputation and graduates’ job prospects are still the top reasons students choose which college to attend. But cost and financial aid are increasingly influencing enrollment decisions, according to the annual Freshman Survey, released on Thursday by the Cooperative Institutional Research Program, part of the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles.
  • The largest share of students on record were not at their first-choice college in 2013, having enrolled elsewhere for financial reasons, survey responses showed. Just 57 percent of freshmen at four-year institutions enrolled at their first choice, although 76 percent of students had been admitted there. By comparison, 69 percent of freshmen in 2003 and 72 percent in 1993 were at their first-choice institutions.
  • Among freshmen who had been accepted by their first-choice institutions but enrolled elsewhere this academic year, 60 percent said their current college’s offer of financial assistance was a very important factor in their decision. A similar share (62 percent) said the cost of their first-choice college was very important; a quarter of students cited a lack of financial aid there.

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