The Chronicle of Higher Education reports this morning on a new study that finds that the overwhelming majority of students heading off to college this fall will be attending the sort of college they prefer.
Of the nearly 40,000 respondents, 86% of those who said they preferred a public college will be attending a public college this fall. Among those who said they preferred a private college, 76% will be enrolling in a private college.
Interestingly, the economics of admission cut both ways for students. Students who preferred private schools but enrolled in a public one cited costs of enrollment as the major factor. However, students who switched to attend a private school despite their preference for a public one, also reported economics as a factor: they received good financial aid packages with both need-based and merit-based awards.
So, clearly, the economic downturn has had an impact, but not always the one we might assume. That impact is differerent for different students, depending on their preferences and depending on how well they play the college admission and financial aid game.
The game will be no different in the coming year. Students who take the time to ask themselves what they really want, who find schools who match their criteria very closely, and who are willing to develop a winning strategy for admissions and financial aid, the global economy may not affect their educational future one iota.