Report Explores Price-Sensitivity of College-Bound Students

on July 1, 2016

Eduventures surveyed 15,000 college-bound high school students who were likely to enroll at 4-year public or private non-profit colleges. The report, High Sticker Price: Is the Chilling Effect Real or Imagined, grouped the students into three clusters based on how they decided where to apply:

  • Price-Only, who choose colleges primarily based on price
  • Price and Comfort, who are concerned about price, but are also influenced by whether the college is a match or safety school
  • Price and Quality, who are concerned about price, but are also influenced by whether the college is a reach or match school

The report found that 55 percent of first-generation college students were price-only. Big increases in tuition and fees are more likely to cause first-generation college students to avoid institutions with high sticker prices. The report found similar results for low-income and underrepresented minority students.

Overall, the report found that the high-cost/high-aid model stops low-income, first-generation and underrepresented minority students from considering colleges with a high sticker price.

The report also found that students who intend to enroll at a public college are at least 10 percent more likely to fall into the price-only category than students who intend to enroll at a private non-profit college.

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