Cost of College Changing how HHS Students Apply

Trevor P

By Trevor Perkins

The increasing cost of college and fear of student loan debt have changed how students at Hopkinton High School approach applying to colleges. These factors have led to increased awareness of tuition costs and an increase in applications to more affordable state schools.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst has seen in an immense increase in applications. The Boston Globe reported that from 2005 to 2013, the number of applications went from 20,000 to 34,000. The average overall cost of attending UMass as an in-state student is approximately $23,000 dollars, much lower than competing private schools in the area. Boston University, for example, has an estimated total expense of over $60,000.

Head of Guidance Adelaide Greco discusses how the guidance departments factors into students college plans Photo by Trevor Perkins
Head of Guidance Adelaide Greco discusses how the guidance departments factors into students college plans
Photo by Trevor Perkins

In addition, the increased number of applicants to more affordable public instituitions has lowered the acceptance rates of said institutions. UMass is down from about 80% in 2005, to about 63% in 2013, the latter statistic being only slightly higher than Boston University.

Adelaide Greco, head of the guidance department, also added, “now, more students are conscious about the cost of college. I would say fifteen years ago that didn’t come up as much and people were surprised when they looked at a college they realized they couldn’t afford. I think everybody is now much more aware of the costs and how much debt they can take on.”

Since 1978, the cost of a higher education has increased by 1,125%, according to Bloomberg. In addition, the National Center for Education Statistics has reported that between the 2001-02 and 2011-12 academic years, the prices for undergraduate, room, board, and tuition have increased by 40% at public institutions, and 28% at private institutions.

Junior Erick Landreth ponders what he steps he will take to afford college next year. Photo by Trevor Perkins,
Junior Erick Landreth ponders what he steps he will take to afford college next year. Photo by Trevor Perkins,

Students not only now fear the cost of the college, but the debt they must take on to pay for it. “I cannot just choose whichever college I would like go, I don’t have that flexibility. I already know I will have to take out significant student loans, and try for as many scholarships as possible,” says Junior Erick Landreth.

In recent years, student loans have become a major issue in the United States. National student loan debt stands at a record 1.2 trillion dollars, with the average borrower owing twenty nine thousand dollars, according to a CNN Money article. Student loan debt has surpassed credit card debt as the leading form of debt taken on by consumers in America.

“If you come out of college with fifteen to thirty thousand dollars worth of debt, you will probably be able to manage that. However, if you come out with sixty thousand dollars worth of debt, and up, you’re talking about living at home for a lot longer, and it may preclude you from possibly going to a grad or med school,” adds Greco.

Hopkinton High School guidance counselor, Cheryl Elder, says,“I think it is making them more thoughtful about their secondary plans. Students make their decisions for a number of reasons, but now, certainly, finances are the top reason.”

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