Published November 1, 2009 | November 2009 issue
Whether students are making different choices today about college—where to go, how to pay for it and so on—because of financing issues is an obscure, moving target, especially in an immediate sense. For starters, long-term trends tend to bend slowly, exacerbated by data lags that veil the effect of the recession on students’ enrollment and financial aid choices.
For what they’re worth, anecdotes are easy to come by. With the help of student leadership at several universities, the fedgazette conducted an (unscientific) online survey with students at a handful of universities in the district. The survey inquired about the cost of college and the use of financial aid in its many forms, including grants, loans and parental support. Close to 1,500 responses were received from students at four universities (three in Minnesota, one in North Dakota), including hundreds of additional comments to each of the survey’s questions.
Anecdotally, the findings broadly confirm many long-term trends in higher education seen in the data, while adding some student perspective to a variety of issues discussed in fedgazette articles.
For more details of survey results—which cannot necessarily be considered representative of the overall student population because of possible sampling bias—see the accompanying spreadsheets.