The other "March madness" finds millions of college applicants (and their parents) anxiously awaiting word about acceptance and financial aid word
Concerns about high college costs are higher than ever, according to the Princeton Review’s 2012 “College Hopes and Worries Survey” released Thursday.
Between now through April, millions of college applicants and their parents anxiously await word as college acceptance, rejection and financial aid letters are delivered, a nail-biting season that some call “the other March madness.”
Eighty-nine percent of respondents this year said that financial aid will be “very” necessary to pay for college, while 65 percent—a five percent increase over last year-- report it will be “extremely” necessary. But it is the unanimous mindset among all respondents that college will be “worth it,” while a just over half (51 percent) see a “potentially better job/higher income” as the primary benefit of their diploma.
The findings of the Princeton Review survey are based on responses from 14,125 people, with 70 percent teen college applicants and 30 percent their parents.
A recent Sallie Mae report found that half of the parents it surveyed are not saving for college, while the half that are represent a decline in percentage from two years ago. While two-thirds of college savers do not have a plan to achieve their goals, the report finds that most remain optimistic about their ability to save, and plan to increase their savings in the next five years. How will they achieve this? Tellingly, a majority of respondents said they don’t like thinking about the subject at all.
College costs pose a significant financial concern for younger parents, according to a 2012 Millionaire Corner survey. Nearly half (49 percent) of respondents ages 40 and younger said they have “major financial concerns” about the educational expenses of a child – a concern shared by about 38 percent of investors in their 40s and 29 percent of investors in their 50s, according to a poll of more than 990 investors from a range of ages and wealth levels.
Not surprisingly, debt incurred to pay for a degree is the biggest worry about the college application process, according to the Princeton Review survey. Thirty-nine percent ranked this as their top concern. Between 2010 and 2012, the biggest fear was that the applicant would get into their first-choice college, but would not have sufficient funds or financial aid to attend. In 2009, the biggest concern was not getting into their first-choice college.
Among student and parent respondents overall, three-fourths—up three points from 2012, said that the state of the economy has affected the college applicant’s decisions about applying to or attending college.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.