Economic woes force students to settle

Due to the economy, many students are reconsidering where to spend the next four to five years of their post high school education.

For many students, there is a dream school they hope to attend to obtain higher education. “The Great Recession” has especially manifested on young people who have chosen to go on to four-year institutions.

College is an investment of students who bank on a profitable and beneficial future, but for many there is a change of specific plans. That dream school may be further out of reach than anticipated when students stop to examine costs, funds, fees and tuition in today’s economy.

According to the annual freshman survey of the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP), the cost of high tuition has affected where many students ends up going to school.

UNA junior Allison Killian admitted that Lee University was where she originally planned to attend college, but she is happy with her decision to go to UNA.

“I’m an art major, and UNA has a good art department,” she said. “There wasn’t too much of a transition. It’s Florence and I like it here.”

The best-known colleges in Alabama are the University of Alabama and Auburn University, but many students have trouble affording the high costs associated with well-known universities.

“State funding towards public schools has declined significantly in the last 30 years,” said Vice President of Student Affairs David Shields. “What we try to do at UNA is not over budget. I don’t think anyone who comes to UNA gives up a great education.”

Shields also believes that college is less about the cost or prestige, and more about a well-rounded education.

“The journey from freshman to graduate is important,” Shields said. “The value of education comes out of the experience you get inside and outside of the classroom.”

Despite reputations of certain universities, money is one of the top deciding factors in college choice among college students.