Undergrad College Applications Are Up 22%, Mostly From the Wealthy

Key Takeaways
  • According to data released by the Common App, undergraduate college applications are up 22%, compared to pre-pandemic rates.
  • 60% of college applicants come from affluent communities, while only 5% of applicants are from low-income backgrounds.
  • While university enrollment has decreased in recent years, the cost of higher education has increased each year.
Are you ready to make some real money moves?

Colleges and universities are seeing millions of applications come in this 2021 Fall and Winter season. Each year, many prospective students apply to college using the Common Application, otherwise known as the Common App.

 

The Common Application is an online application that allows students to apply to their 900+ participating institutions. In addition, it simplifies the application process for students as they are able to apply to multiple schools using a single website.

 

A 22% Increase in College Applications

 

According to Common App data from November 2021, admission applications have increased by 22% this academic year compared to pre-pandemic levels. However, the increase that colleges and universities are witnessing in applications is disproportionate. While 60% of applicants come from the most affluent communities, only 5% are from low-income communities.

 

Image Credit: Shutterstock.com

 

The Common App also shows a significant increase in international students applying for college in the United States. At the same time, there has been a decrease in some domestic areas in the United States. While international students don’t qualify for government aid, many of the international students come from affluent families that are able to pay for much of the associated costs out of pocket.

 

University Enrollment Has Declined in Recent Years

 

Despite many more students participating in the college application process this year, the number of enrolled students has recently declined. This is because University enrollment has gone down almost 8% during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to reports from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

 

According to the report, schools that especially serve low to mid-income level students are seeing declines in enrollment the most. In addition, given the change of situation for many families caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, many of those from low and middle-income backgrounds may not be able to afford the expensive costs of higher education.

 

The Expensive Costs of Higher Education

 

According to data from the Common App, roughly 18% of applicants have received a fee waiver. Fee waivers allow students to apply to universities and colleges for free instead of paying the $75 cost, or more, to apply to each prospective school.

 

Some lower-income students may not even realize they are eligible for fee waivers, and therefore, don’t apply due to the expensive costs. On the other hand, many wealthier students may be encouraged by family members to apply to many schools, despite the costs.

 

To offset the cost of college expenses, many students tend to join extracurricular activities while in high school so that they can gain a scholarship or a stipend. Additionally, high school students who have done well on standardized tests have a greater chance of receiving a grant or scholarship to assist with college costs. 

 

Recommended Read: The Rise of Tuition Causes College Enrollment to Fall 

 

Can I Afford to Attend College?

 

With rising tuition costs, many students may be discouraged from attending college, and some may hesitate to apply due to misconceptions around affordability. However, many financial aid options are available to those who have a low family income. 

 

Attending a public 2-year or 4-year college may also be an option for those who want to see lower tuition costs, as they tend to be more affordable than private universities. By attending a local community college, commuting to classes would allow you to save on housing costs if staying at home. Living at home is an affordable housing option for families who cannot afford room and board costs.

 

Image Credit: Shutterstock.com

 

Another way to increase your chances of receiving a scholarship or school aid is to get a letter of recommendation from a high school teacher or counselor. A compelling letter of recommendation may help with admission decisions, as well as any financial aid decision.

 

If you cannot afford college tuition at the moment, don’t be discouraged. There are plenty of resources available to help prospective students to obtain scholarships specifically for housing costs, tuition, books, and other important items needed to succeed in college. 

 

Having a college plan in place is necessary in order to successfully navigate the finances that come with accepting undergraduate admission at an institution. Ask to speak to an admissions officer or financial aid officer to understand your situation better and come up with a plan of action. 

 

Are you surprised that undergraduate applications are up? What are your thoughts on the rising costs associated with college admission? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Main Image Credit: Shutterstock.com

Was this content helpful?
Comments (1)

Sign In to leave a comment.

Christopher Herrington (@czherrington)9 months ago

This is a test comment

1
Download the CapWay App

Access more features to your Money Account

  • Money Goals
  • Request Money
  • Categorize Spending
  • Money Talk

The CapWay, Inc Debit Visa Card is issued by Metropolitan Commercial Bank (Member FDIC) pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. “Metropolitan Commercial Bank” and “Metropolitan” are registered trademarks of Metropolitan Commercial Bank ©2014.

1. For Money Account holders with a negative balance, the CapWay debit card will go into freeze until funds are deposited to bring account back to current. See terms and conditions

2. Sending or receiving money from other CapWay account holders will be instant. Transfers from other accounts could take up to 48 hours, depending on the financial institution.

3. Early access to funds requires direct deposit. Early payment is not guaranteed and is dependent on the timing of payer's submission of deposits. We generally post such deposits on the day they are received which may be up to 2 days earlier than the payer's scheduled payment date.

4. Money Goals allows account holders to save money towards financial goals created within the CapWay platform. Funds can be transferred from your Money Account or saved through the rounding up of your transactions from purchases.

5. CapWay offers financial content through Learn Money free of charge, but may include advertisements through affiliates. Phunds, CapWay's literacy program and session, is paid content or co-branded content.

© 2019-2022 CapWay Inc. All Rights Reserved.