Recession Forces Students to Shop Around

A survey found that students are applying to less expensive schools and looking for scholarships.

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The winter holidays can be a stressful time for students who have not yet finished applying to colleges. It can be a stressful time for colleges, too, a group that also is uneasy about the worsening economy and is carefully monitoring the number of applications coming in. Earlier this fall, a survey of 2,500 prospective college students nationwide contained some unsettling findings. Among them:

  • 48 percent said they are more concerned than ever about being able to afford any college at all.
  • 16 percent said they are putting off college because they don't think their families will be able to afford the costs.
  • 57 percent said are now considering a less prestigious college because they are worried about affordability.
  • 85 percent said they are spending more time looking for scholarship money to help defray tuition costs, and just over half said they are counting on federal aid.
  • The survey was conducted in October by, a website that offers data on colleges and scholarships. We'll be watching to see whether these findings bear out as the application process comes to a close. We also want to hear from you and how your college plans are being shaped by the economy. You can post on the comments section or write to