Sticker price still a major factor in college search for many students
The affordability of higher education is one of the most urgent issues facing academic officials today. Numerous measures have been implemented to make the cost of college more transparent, such as the introduction of net price calculators. However, according to a new report, many students still focus predominantly on colleges’ sticker price, even though doing so may not provide prospective students with an accurate idea of how much earning their degree will cost.
Failing to consider the financial implications
The report, which was published by StudentPOLL, revealed that more than half of students only look at the total cost of college without taking financial aid into consideration. Only 17 percent of prospective students looked at the net price of earning their degree after determining how much financial aid they will be eligible for. Additionally, a majority of students also expected to receive some sort of merit-based aid based on their previous academic and extracurricular accomplishments.
Despite indications that too few students are accurately calculating the true cost of earning their degree, there is evidence that overall use of net price calculators has increased. In 2011, approximately 25 percent of students had used an “online financial aid or net tuition calculators on the web sites of individual colleges,” compared to 44 percent this year. Use of government financial aid calculators has also increased, with 12 percent of students using these tools in 2011 compared to 26 percent this year.
One of the most troubling findings of the study indicated that many students planning to attend the best Christian colleges and universities would do so despite placing themselves under greater financial pressure. The reputation of a school plays a significant part in the decision of where to enroll for many students, and most are willing to stretch themselves financially in order to attend renowned colleges.
“While these findings on the whole suggest that institutions are making progress in providing better and easier ways for parents and students to access and understand price and aid information and determine how they factor into their own college decisions, there is still room for improvement,” said Richard Hesel, principal of the Art & Science Group.
When men and women of faith are looking at prospective Christian colleges and universities, it is vital for them to consider the true cost of earning their degree by calculating how much financial aid they are eligible for. If they fail to do this, they could be placing themselves under tremendous financial pressure.