Many US high school students are uninformed, underinformed and/or concerned about the cost of college and financial aid, according to a recent survey by the non-profits WKCD (What Kids Can Do) and the Lumina Foundation.
1 in 5 High Schoolers Knows ‘A Lot’ about Financial Aid
Only approximately one in five (18%) high schoolers say they know a lot about the costs of college and getting financial aid. About four in 10 (42%) say they know some. Another combined four in 10 know either a little (31%) or nothing (9%) about financial issues regarding college.
Cost Seen as Leading Hurdle
While four in five high schoolers say they know some to nothing about college costs, a majority know enough to cite cost as a concern (multiple responses were accepted). Out of 4,790 students surveyed, 3,129, or about 65%, said cost is a potential hurdle to college.
No other concern came close to being mentioned by as many high school students; 1,124 (about 25%) cited grades or other academic concerns. Ten percent of respondents or less cited concerns such as test scores, deciding where to go, and moving away.
Parents Help Financial Aid Applications
Of respondents who have applied for financial aid, about two-thirds (65%) had help from a parent or guardian in filling out the necessary forms. Fifteen percent did it on their own, the second-most-popular response. This means more high schoolers have filled out complex financial aid forms alone than have with help from outside sources such as a school counselor (13%) or college representative (8%).
Most Have Limited Info on Community Programs
In addition to obtaining financial aid, high schoolers can make getting into college easier by participating in community programs that provide extra academic and leadership opportunities. Yet only 14% of high schoolers say they know a lot about these programs, while 25% say they know nothing. Most say they know some (32%) or a little (31%).
Family Biggest College Influencer
When it comes to who influences high school students in their decision to attend college, family is decisively the biggest influencer, according to other study results. Seventy-six percent of respondents say family influences their college decision a lot. Mentors/coaches/other adults (41%) and teachers (39%) distantly follow in importance.
About the Data: A total of 4,790 high school students completed a written survey.