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Financial Pressures

National survey shows pressure increase for freshman trying to pay for school

by Published: Mar 29, 2012

Many college freshmen have been feeling the pressures and challenges of paying for their education more than ever.

According to a national survey of freshmen done by the University of California Los Angeles, the impacts of the economic downturn are becoming overwhelming for many students. Although the freshmen at Ferris State University were not included in the survey, the pressure is no less for them.

Spencer Gilmore, an 18-year-old FSU freshman majoring in dental hygiene, was unsure if she would be leaving her hometown of Grand Blanc to attend college due to insufficient funds.

“Money was definitely a deciding factor of whether I attended college or not. My family doesn’t contribute, so I have had a lot of stress when it comes to school payments,” Gilmore said. “I have to find a way to pay for my education, along with everything else, on my own.”

Gilmore said in order to pay for her education, she has used her life-savings and obtained a part-time job outside of being a student.

Ashley Mitchell, an 18-year-old Ferris freshman in nursing from Battle Creek, agreed with Gilmore about finding ways to pay for school.

“I definitely needed to get a scholarship, or else I would have been paying for school out of pocket. And if that was the case, I probably wouldn’t be at this school,” Mitchell said. “I would find a way to get an education, but the cost of it makes it almost impossible for students.”

According to 19-year-old FSU freshman Vincent Veldink from Detroit, college was something his family never considered feasible. The graphic design major doesn’t know where he will be next year because of the high costs of education.

According to the national survey, there are fewer funds available to students through grants and scholarships. It also says the usage of loans is increasing.

Only 69.5 percent of students said they were using scholarships and grants to pay for school compared to the 73.4 percent of students in 2010. In 2001, 5.6 percent of students reported that they expected to use $10,000 or more in loans to pay for their first year of college. By 2011, the percentage of students more than doubled to 13.3 percent.

The national survey is called the Cooperative Institutional Research Program Survey. It is based on the responses of 203,967 first-time, full-time students. The first edition of this survey started in 1966, and it is now the largest and longest-running survey of American college students.