Survey: 56 Pct Of Undergraduates Can’t Afford College Tuition

Half Of Undergraduates Can’t Afford College

More than half of college students say they can’t afford tuition, as the coronavirus crisis has taken a toll on many families’ ability to pay for school, according to a survey by OneClass.

The poll quizzed more than 10,000 freshmen, sophomores and juniors from more than 200 colleges and universities nationwide, CNBC reported 

Fifty-six percent of students said their families can’t afford to pay for college, and about half of undergraduates said they must determine how to pay for school because of the pandemic’s impact on their finances, the poll found. 

In addition, nearly 7 percent of students have dropped out to seek full-time employment or other, less expensive education options, OneClass found.

“The COVID health crisis is causing many young people to change and adapt their plans,” noted Vivian Tsai, chair of the College Savings Foundation (CSF), the Washington, D.C. nonprofit whose mission is to help American families achieve their education savings goals.

In its own survey, CSF found that 39 percent of the 2020 high school graduating class said the economic uncertainty due to COVID-19 will impact their decisions about college.

As a result, 36 percent said they expect to attend community college to save money, and 15 percent will go to a public university rather than a private institution.

Another survey by LendingTree revealed that nearly 40 percent of parents have used their children’s college funds to help cover routine expenses due to economic fallout from COVID-19.

Stock market swings have also hurt college savings funds. Cumulative assets from 529-plan fell to $293 billion in March after hitting an all-time high of $328 billion in December, Morningstar told CNBC.

The poll comes on the same day the Department of Labor reported that nearly 1.87 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, as the number of workers seeking assistance exceeded 42 million since the pandemic began in March.

This week, PYMNTS reported that the average college tuition in the U.S. this year was $41,426 at private colleges, $11,260 for state residents at public colleges and $27,120 for out-of-state students at state schools. As student debt reaches nearly $1.5 trillion, questions have been raised over whether paying such inflated sums for higher education was worth it.