Cost Biggest Factor When Chosing College –

A study conducted by The Parthenon Group on behalf of Penn Foster College finds that cost of tuition is the largest determining factor for students when selecting a school of higher education. This is a jump from being the fifth most important factor in 2007.

The research tracked trends in education over the past five years. According to the report, the lingering effects of the recession in 2008 are partially why prospective students have not enrolled into a higher education program. Though they still consider education valuable, student loan debt and the uncertainty of a return on their investment keep students from pursuing degrees. The economic climate has left students less optimistic about landing a job after graduation.

Findings also show that students examining online colleges will ‘shop’ for up to three months and consider no more than three schools before making their decision. Penn Foster CEO Frank Britt said the research indicates students now think more analytically about the cost of schools, approaching education in the same way they would buy a product.

After cost, the other factors influencing college selection–listed in descending order of importance–were quality of education, convenience, flexible schedule, accreditation, interaction with teachers, overall reputation, and ability to find a job.

The survey included more than 1,500 prospective students with a family income less than $80,000.

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