Today’s economy and job market is making life challenging for people of all ages, and people who are just beginning college are no exception.

Allie Grasgreen of Inside Higher Ed reports.

Minding the Money

One might hope that the economic recession, which formally ended in 2009, is no longer inhibiting students’ educational pursuits — or, perhaps more realistically, not as much.

But an annual survey of freshmen suggests precisely the opposite: more students than ever (66.6 percent) say America’s economic condition significantly affected their choice of college — so the recession’s residual effects, at least, linger on.

And financial considerations are affecting students in more ways than just where they enroll. The survey also found all-time highs in the number of students who said that “to be able to get a better job” (87.9 percent) and “to be able to make more money” (74.6 percent) were “very important” reasons to go to college; that “being very well-off financially” is a personal goal (81 percent); and that “the cost of attending this college” (43.3 percent) and “not offered aid by first choice” (9.5 percent) were important reasons for choosing the college they are attending.

“When we start to see all those items stack up, that stands out to us,” said Laura Palucki Blake, co-author of this year’s “The American Freshman: National Norms,” an annual survey and report published by UCLA’s Cooperative Institutional Research Program. “That says to us, there’s a need for universities to talk about this and to say, ‘Here is the lay of the land with incoming first-years, and this is really an issue for them.’ ”

CIRP surveyed 192,912 first-time, full-time students entering 283 institutions of varying type and selectivity in fall 2012. (This year’s National Survey on Student Engagement, which includes students of all grade levels, also found a strong connection between financial worries and academic activity.)

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Minding the Money (Inside Higher Ed | News)