Study: Low confidence in ability to finish college

High school students spend a lot of time worrying about getting into college, but according to a new study, nearly half also worry about being able to stay there once admitted. That’s one finding from a survey of more than 2,000 students from around the country.

Conducted by Ipsos in May and released this summer, the study is intended to establish a baseline for future research. By tracking changes to the index year over year, colleges and universities can see how issues are evolving so they can remain aligned to the expectations of college-bound students and their families.

Current and prospective students identified family emergencies (69 percent), stress (66 percent), mental health (66 percent) and physical health (60 percent) as as the most likely reasons they would be forced to withdraw.

According to the survey authors, “With so many students with so many concerns it is imperative that schools are as direct and transparent as possible in communicating their tuition refund policies.”

Several insights have been uncovered that could influence the way schools interact with parents and students. For example, more than half of prospective students are “not very confident” they will finish college without needing to withdraw at some point.

More than 8 in 10 parents say they would be worried about making student loan payments if their child had to withdraw.

Moreover, the authors say, parents and student are often unaware of their school’s refund policy if a student has to withdraw. Just 16 percent said they were confident they knew the policy. The financial impact of a potential withdrawal adds to the anxiety experienced by parents and students, and may jeopardize the likelihood of program completion.

The Ipsos survey was sponsored by Allianz Tuition Insurance. “Frankly, we were shocked by some of the results,” says company spokesman Dan Durazo. “We had no idea how much anxiety students and parents face.”

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