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Perceptions of Affordability

Inside Higher Ed

Elizabeth Redden
January 12, 2022
High school juniors who believe they can’t afford higher education are about 20 percentage points less likely to attend college within the first three years after high school than peers who don’t think affordability is a barrier.
In 2012, when most students in a new study were juniors in high school, researchers asked them whether they agreed with the following statement: “Even if you get accepted to college, your family cannot afford to send you.”
Nearly a third of the students—32 percent—agreed or strongly agreed with that statement.
Three years after high school, 59 percent of this group—“the non-afforders”—had ever attended college, compared to 80 percent of their peers, “the afforders,” for whom perceived affordability was not an issue.