Sizing Up Colleges for “Right Fit”

by Allison Oster

During difficult economic times, the cost of higher education leaves many students and parents wondering if they can afford college. A report on Higher Education Enrollment and the Economy showed the number of students listing financial considerations first among key decision criteria has increased in the last year.

This decision has also been impacted by fewer options for many college-bound California students, especially within the University of California and California State University systems.

“In these hard economic times, applying for college shouldn’t have to be hard too,” said David Dufault-Hunter, APU vice president of enrollment management. “APU wants to help remove barriers and increase college access for students. One of the ways we’re doing this is by extending our application deadline for fall 2009 to July 1.”

College should be an environment where you feel comfortable and can succeed both academically and socially. It is important to take all of the following factors into consideration when selecting a school:

Academic– Programs/Majors, Academic Rigor, Class Size, Reputation Physical – Location, Size, Proximity, Campus Social – Personal Fit, Student Life Affordability – True Cost (Resource:[College Sticker Price v. Affordability] (http://inlikeme.com/college-sticker-price-vs-affordability/))

Here are some helpful facts and resources when determining true value in California higher education and weighing affordability versus fit.

State of California Higher Education Community Colleges

Enrollment grew by an estimated 10.2% from 2007 to 2008. State funding only provided for a 2% increase in enrollment. *Community College League of California estimates that cuts and fee increases will mean a loss of 262,000 students.

California State University

*Expected to increase fees by 10%

University of California

Reduced enrollment by 6% Redistributed admission for 10,000 applicants from first-choice campuses to under-enrolled Merced or Riverside. *Increasing fees by 9.3%.

What APU Offers

Financial Aid

*At APU, 90 percent of traditional undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid. More than $27 million of grants and scholarships are given each year, averaging about $8,100 per student.

Room for You

"In these hard economic times, applying for college shouldn’t have to be hard too..."

*With the Baby Boomer generation set to retire, the demand for higher education jobs is increasing in industries like aerospace, engineering, medical professionals, and other science and technical positions. APU’s new state-of-the-art, $54 million Sergerstrom Science Center adds 71,000 square feet of new classrooms, laboratories, and faculty offices for student use.

*High school seniors and college transfer students are encountering overflowing classrooms, closed course selections, and long waiting lists at community colleges and public universities. APU offers a student to faculty ratio of 15:1 and more than 60 areas of undergraduate study.

Affordable Housing

*Residence Halls at UC Berkeley, for example, range in price from about $11,000 to $17,000 a year. Campus housing at Azusa Pacific goes for $4,000 to $5,000. APU recently expanded its housing with the $70 million acquisition of Crestview Luxury Apartments (now University Village).

Related Articles

The Reporter Community College Enrollment Growth Outpaces Resources, Shutting Out Students, Mercury News