Paying for college is a big concern for many parents of prospective students, but that doesn’t mean they’re having detailed conversations about it with their children.
Half of parents have had a detailed discussion about how they will pay for college with their students by the January before they enroll, according to a new report from the consulting firm Longmire and Company. Forty-seven percent of parents said they had had general discussions by that time, while 3 percent hadn’t discussed paying for college at all, according to the report, “Study of Parents: How They Evaluate Colleges and Influence Enrollment,” which is based on a survey of parents.
At the same time, 58 percent of parents said cost would play a major role in deciding where their student would go to college, but would not be the sole basis for that decision. Another 19 percent said it would be the overriding factor.
Parents also put a number on how much they would be willing to pay out of pocket for college expenses. Thirty-three percent of parents said they could afford to pay less than $5,000 a year, 21 percent said they could afford to pay between $5,000 and $9,999. Twelve percent said they could afford to pay more than $30,000 a year.
The survey also included an open-ended question about what would cause parents to reject a college after visiting it. The most common reasons parents gave were facilities or grounds in disrepair, rude students, an unsafe environment, and an admissions staff that did not seem friendly or caring.
The survey was conducted by Longmire in partnership with some of its college and university clients. The colleges provided names of some 9,000 students likely to enroll in college in the fall of 2010, and surveys were sent to their families in December 2009. About 1,500 parents responded.