According to an annual nationwide survey, the recession hit this year’s college freshmen hard, affecting how they chose a school as well as their ability to pay for it. This week the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles, regarded as one of the premier research and policy organizations on postsecondary education in the country, released their 44th “The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2009” report, which provides information about the demographic profile, perceptions, and mind-sets of their incoming freshmen classes. At the start of the fall semester, the Institute surveyed 220,000 first-time, full-time freshmen from 297 four-year colleges and universities. Some interesting findings summarized in the Chronicle of Higher Education article below include:
• “About two-thirds of freshmen said they were either somewhat or very worried about their ability to finance their college educations. Those citing “some” concerns about money increased about two percentage points, to 55.4 percent, while students citing “major” concerns remained at 11.3 percent, about the same as in 2008.”
• “A record-high 4.5 percent of freshmen said their fathers were unemployed. (That rate had long fluctuated between 2 and 3 percent.) The proportion of students saying their mothers were unemployed, which has risen steadily from 5.4 percent in 2006, reached 7.9 percent in 2009.”
• The number of students taking out loans was at its highest in nine years, at 53.3 percent. (Source: New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/21/education/21college.html?ref=education)
• “The proportion of students planning to major in business dropped in 2009 to a 35-year low of 14.4 percent, and those with “business career aspirations” fell two percentage points from 2008.”
• “78 percent of the freshmen said being financially well-off was an important objective, making that the most prevalent goal among incoming freshmen for the second year in a row. In second place was raising a family, which about 75 percent of the students said was very important to them.”
• “39 percent of freshmen said they would need tutoring while in college.”
The director of the survey, John H. Pryor, told the Chronicle reporter, “The effects of the economic downturn were spread across the college experience, whether the issue was how to pay for college or what majors and eventual careers to pursue.” The report also states that one in five of today’s freshmen entering a four-year college as a first-year student had remedial work in high school and that “Almost twice as many … believe that they will need special tutoring or remedial work in college.”
LifeBound’s transitions programs are designed to prepare students for college and career success, and the new edition of our book, Making the Most of High School, will include a chapter on personal finance. If students learn the requisite skills starting in middle school, they will be better positioned to succeed in life after high school.
How can we make college more affordable for students who desire to go and help them succeed once they get there?
How can k-12 school districts and parents better prepare students with the tools and confidence they need to persist and succeed to college graduation?
What programs can we put in place at the middle school and high school levels that help students see the connection between school and future career success?
The Chronicle of Higher Education
January 21, 2010
Cost of College Is a Big Worry of Freshmen in National Survey
By Ashley Marchand
Financial concerns, from paying for college to job prospects, dominated the new-student experience in 2009, according to an annual survey on freshman attitudes.
About two-thirds of freshmen said they were either somewhat or very worried about their ability to finance their college educations. Those citing “some” concerns about money increased about two percentage points, to 55.4 percent, while students citing “major” concerns remained at 11.3 percent, about the same as in 2008.
The survey, The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2009, is conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles. This was the 44th year of the report, which provides institutions with information about the demographic profile, perceptions, and mind-set of their incoming freshmen classes.
To view this entire article visit www.chronicle.com