College-Bound Students Are Choosing More Affordable Higher Education

A new study by the National Association for College Admission Counseling finds that, due to the current severe recession, students of all races are increasingly turning away from their “dream” college in favor of a public university or a two-year community college.

More than 70 percent of high school guidance counselors reported an increase in the number of students who decided not to apply to or enroll at their dream college. Nearly 60 percent of counselors reported that this year they had seen an increase in the number of students choosing a state-operated college or university over private educational institutions.

The survey also showed that 72 percent of all public colleges and universities had an increase in the number of applicants this year compared to 58 percent of private colleges and universities. More than 46 percent of state-operated colleges and universities saw an increase in student yield compared to 31 percent of private institutions.

The survey did not include information on race. But it is reasonable to conclude that if college students as a whole are turning to more affordable options for higher education, black students, in disproportionate numbers, are likely to be choosing state-operated universities or two-year community colleges. This conclusion would quite automatically follow from the fact that the median black family income in the United States is only 60 percent of the median white family income.

Faced with a reeling economy, many black students may be choosing to forgo college altogether.