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 MeritAid.com, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.