16 Dec

College & the Economy: College Admissions Officers Speak Out

As the changing economy has continued to affect the college admissions process, the Chronicle of Higher Education (a leading higher education news source) recently released the first report from their new research division, Chronicle Research Services.

The report, titled “Financial Uncertainty and the Admissions Class of Fall 2008” examines how students have changed their college application process due to concern about the high price of a college education.

More Students, More Applications, Less Enrollment

The high school graduating class of 2008 has been the largest thus far, and the Chronicle report shows that 78% of surveyed colleges had an increase in applications this year-but a decrease in matriculation. How can this be?

Just as admissions officers feared in July, students are applying to more colleges in hopes of pitting them against each other to garner higher financial aid awards-so while schools are receiving more applications, and even sometimes more deposits, those students often don’t end up matriculating!

Thinking Closer to Home

Now more than ever students are considering price above all other factors. According to the Chronicle’s report, some students are not only more reluctant to choose a school far from home, but also seem to be focusing on public and community colleges because of their appealing lower sticker prices. Unfortunately, with community college enrollment up by 8%, they are unable to accommodate the increasing demand for courses.

Foiled by Lack of Financial Aid

Even though more students than ever are seeking help from the Financial Aid office, less than fifteen percent of the surveyed colleges plan to tap into more money from their endowment funds or work out new loan programs. Only a little over half of the schools whose students requested more aid could actually offer it to them.  For the first time in the ten years I have been doing college planning, we are seeing a significant number of parents who have been so negatively affected by the current economic downturn that they are asking for their 2008/09 financial aid awards to be re-worked MID-YEAR, worrying they may no longer be able to afford to keep their student at the current college for the coming semester.  What is truly disturbing is that these requests are coming from families at virtually all income levels.

Families that have developed a roadmap on how to pay for college most efficiently are most likely to not only pay less for college, but also better navigate the treacherous waters we are in.  The economy is still changing, and I’ll be keeping an eye on how it is likely to affect your student’s college prospects.

All the best,
Deborah Fox

image: Pencils by jaylopez

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5 Responses to “College & the Economy: College Admissions Officers Speak Out”

  1. 1
    Pay for College Blog » Blog Archive » Colleges Offer a Helping Hand to Struggling Students Says:

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  2. 2
    Pay for College Blog - Tips on reducing the cost of college Says:

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    College Admissions Assistance Says:

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  4. 4
    Pay for College Blog » Blog Archive » Recession May Force Changes in Tuition Says:

    […] year–private colleges are feeling the pinch, too. As the struggling economy continues to affect the college admissions process, many private schools are wondering how to cope with the problem of higher application volumes but […]

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    Pay for College Blog - Tips on reducing the cost of college Says:

    […] year–private colleges are feeling the pinch, too. As the struggling economy continues to affect the college admissions process, many private schools are wondering how to cope with the problem of higher application volumes but […]

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