New survey: 52% of students feel confident in ability to afford college, reversing a five-year decline

September 21, 2021 — PITTSBURGHNiche, the leading platform connecting students and families with colleges and schools, today released a new survey of 19,277 students from the high school class of 2021. This is the sixth annual year that Niche has surveyed college-bound seniors about their college search process, from initial research all the way through to enrollment.

Cost continues to loom largest among students’ concerns about college. However, this year there was a significant rise in their confidence that they will be able to afford the college in which they are enrolling. 52% of students reported that they were confident or very confident, reversing a five-year slide from 48% to 32%.

The fastest-growing challenge is the lack of school counseling support. In 2019 only 11% reported this being a challenge, and this year 20% of students said that lack of a counselor was a challenge they faced. There was also a 50% increase in students reporting that they received no counseling support: 21% in 2021 versus 14% in 2020.

“Our most recent data is a clear indication that students felt less supported in their college search this year compared to the past. This is likely due to ramifications from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Will Patch, Senior Enrollment Insights Leader. “If students aren’t in-person, they might not be getting face time with their counselors. Online meetings, which were likely an option, simply didn’t serve students in the way they needed. The value of organic check-ins should not be underestimated.”

Other takeaways from 2021 Niche Senior Survey: College Search to Enrollment:

As expected, this year’s student responses are a telling reflection of the changing attitudes and trends in college admissions. The findings will allow schools to remain in touch with prospective students’ needs at a time of rapid change.

The 2021 survey results can be viewed in full here: 

About Niche: Niche is where students and parents choose their school. Whether a school is already on their list or the perfect fit they haven’t yet discovered, Niche connects families to the ones that are uniquely right for them. Our enrollment marketing solutions enable our 1,700 partners to build genuine connections that nurture interest into visits, applications and enrollment. By supporting over 50 million students and parents, Niche is changing how schools and colleges connect with families and build their future classes.

Press contact:

Natalie Tsay
Senior PR Specialist