The perception of college financing and affordability is a grim one, fueled by the very real rising costs of higher education, as well as media coverage of how much students and their families are borrowing. While this perception is understandable given the realities of paying for college, how do students and parents feel about the process of college financing? The debt levels they expect to take on? The award packages they receive?
Ruffalo Noel Levitz polled graduating high school seniors about their perceptions of these issues for the 2018 High School Seniors’ Perceptions of College Financing Report. While they have some critical concerns about paying for college, there were a number of results that may seem surprising considering the negative picture surrounding the cost of college:
- Three out of four were satisfied with their aid packages.
- Nearly nine out of 10 mostly understand the costs related to their financial aid award.
- One in three say they will borrow $20,000 or less, and one in five do not plan to borrow at all.
However, there are still significant challenges for students regarding paying for their education, as well as challenges for institutions in awarding aid, communicating with students and their families, and ultimately bringing in their class. How can you address these challenges and create a financial aid awarding process that aligns with student expectations and positions your institution most favorably?
The full report dives into the research in depth, but there are also five key findings that can help you engage students and their parents about college financing, financial aid, and the value of a college degree.
Multichannel financial aid communication is key
Students told us that they prefer to receive communications about financial aid across a variety of channels.