The New York Times reports that the recession hit this year’s college freshmen hard, affecting how they chose a school as well as their ability to pay for it, according to an annual nationwide survey released Jan. 21. Overall, students were more likely than previous freshmen to have a parent who was unemployed and less likely to have found a job that might help pay for college. About two-thirds of incoming students said they had “some” or “major” concern about their ability to pay for their education. The percentage of those with “some” concern—55.4—was at its highest level since 1971. The number of students taking out loans was at its highest in nine years, at 53.3 percent. “We expected that, given what we were seeing last year in the economy, we would see some significant changes in how finances were impacting people’s ability to pay,” said John H. Pryor, director of the Cooperative Institutional Research Program at the University of California, Los Angeles, which conducts the survey. “What was more surprising was that it goes beyond just that into other areas. Everywhere we turned, whether it was how you chose your college or what do you think you are going to do in college, everywhere the finances piece popped out.”

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staff and wire services reports