Students, Parents Increasingly Worried About Persisting Through College, Financial Impact of Withdrawals

By Brittany Hackett, Communications Staff
As the national conversation around higher education increasingly focuses on completion, a new survey shows that most students are concerned about how they will persist through college, with many wondering if they will need to withdraw at some point either temporarily or permanently.
The survey of over 2,000 current and prospective college students and their parents, conducted in April 2017 on behalf of the tuition insurance company Allianz Global Assistance, found that 55 percent of prospective students wonder if they will need to temporarily withdraw from college, and 56 percent said they have considered the possibility that it will take them longer than four years to complete their degree.
Forty-three percent of current students said they have thought about withdrawing from school, and 49 percent said they are not very confident that they will finish college without needing to temporarily withdraw. In fact, 53 percent said they are not very confident that they will finish school within four years, and 45 percent said they are not very confident that will finish school at all.
The most common reason students cited for needing to withdraw from school was a family emergency (69 percent), followed by stress (66 percent) and a mental health condition (66 percent). Other reasons included a physical health condition (60 percent), homesickness (30 percent), and other (12 percent).
Students may not be confident they will persist through college without withdrawing, but their parents are more optimistic, with 55 percent stating they are very confident their child will complete college without needing to withdraw temporarily. Forty-eight percent said they are very confident their student will complete college within four years and 57 percent said they are very confident their student will not need to permanently withdraw from school.
But this confidence could in part be based on the potential financial impact of withdrawing from college, which 85 percent of students and parents said would be severe. On average, students and parents estimated that $11,000 would be lost in the event of a withdrawal, and 10 percent estimated a potential loss of $25,000 or more. 
As the cost of college continues to rise, and as more families struggle to save enough to send their children to college, the notion of extending a student’s time to completion is an additional stressor for most included in the survey. Eighty-two percent of parents and students said they worry about being able to pay student loans in the event of a withdrawal, and 64 percent of current college students said that worrying about student loans is having a negative impact on their studies. 
Still, the value of a college education is still perceived positively, with a combined 79 percent of parents and students finding it very valuable. Eighty-four percent of parents said they find a college education to be very valuable to their children, and 74 percent of students said it is very valuable to them personally.


Publication Date: 8/8/2017

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