international student life

international student

How cost influences students choice of college.

low income students are greatly influenced by college cost and availability of financial aid when making their college choices.

There are numerous colleges in the US and abroad and the competition for students is getting higher every day. And with the recent economic problems, the issue of affordability of the college is an important one and it has started getting more emphasis when colleges advertise themselves to students.

Tuition and fees for four year colleges continue to rise at a faster rate than the growth in wages. This has caused the demand for Financial aid to sky rocket and there is concerns that a college education is going above the ability of most lower and middle class students.

In response to this concern, the US congress passed the College Access and Opportunity Act in 2006 which monitors the increase in college costs. Any college whose fees spike unreasonably is required to explain its justification for such increases and also helped with strategies to hold down tuition and fees.

Research has shown that a students choice of college is influenced by their social economic class, that creates different types of expectation as to whether they deserve to get to college or not and what to expect from college.

The income of a family is also a determinant in what type of college a student get to choose. College bound students report that the cost of a college is one of the most important factors in choosing the college.

Lower income students tend to choose to attend less expensive colleges closer to their homes. Some will choose not to attend college at all and it is estimated that about 4 million low and middle income students may be left behind without going to college in the next 10 years.

Therefore some elite high cost colleges have changed their financial aid programs to enable more low income students to attend these colleges.

Students also consider the availability of financial aid when choosing a college. Some students may not have access to information about the availability of this financial aid and may not take advantage of it.

It is known that low income students who need financial aid most are the most likely to be influenced by its availability when choosing a college. Low income students are more negatively affected by inadequate loans and financial aid availability than high income students.

Other aspects that affect a student's choice of college include:

   Tuition and location of the college.
   Academics e.g. availability of a particular major in the college.
   Academic reputation of the college.
   Quality of faculty.
   Opportunities for job placement.
   Student life e.g. campus environment, sports, safety, diversity etc.

However most low income students are less likely to apply to more expensive colleges and this limits their potential career opportunities in the future.

They are also more likely to respond to availability of financial aid and hence many expensive colleges are able to recruit talented low income students by giving them financial aid to cover for tuition and expenses.


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