College tuition influences school choices

From the housing market to finances in schools, the current economic condition is affecting nearly every area of our lives. It is also changing the way high school students applying for college, as they must make choices based on what they can afford instead of being able to choose based on the college.

“The economy has played a large role in college decisions lately,” Michelle Olson, counselor, said. “Many students are choosing to go to in-state public universities or community colleges that would not have otherwise.”

A study from USA Today showed that seven in 10 high school students have been forced to make changes in where they would go to college due to the economy. This is also true for some at West Linn High School, as many students have shown financial concerns for college.

“The way that the system is set up right now, if I were to go to a four year university, I would automatically be in debt,” Aidan Poor, senior, said. “Because of this, I’ve changed my decision and am going to community college next year.”

According to Olson, many students are scared of student loans which could adversely affect their finances once they leave or graduate from college.

“The fear of student loans is great and many students want to stay debt free, especially since the job market has not been that great,” Olson said.

Another factor that students may not think of is other college-related costs besides tuition. This includes expenses such as books, housing and food.

“Tuition plays a major role in many decisions for colleges,” Olson said. “Also, it costs money to apply to schools. Each application has a price, along with sending test scores and transcripts. It adds up and does not help the stress level of students or parents.”

Olson describes the process of applying to schools as stressful for both students and parents.

“Along with the stresses associated with money, the stress of addressing the requirements of each application can be problematic for students,” Olson said. “Being proactive and organized is the key to getting through college applications.”