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Finding "Dream School" Not Top Concern for College Applicants

November 7, 2005

It's not taking the SAT. It's not choosing the right school. It's not writing all those college essays. It's finding a way to handle the cost of college that seems the most daunting for students facing the college application process.

In a survey of 500 Lunch-Money.com users*, more than half considered "figuring out how to pay for college" to be the hardest part of applying to college, far outweighing such concerns as "taking the ACT/SAT," "writing essays," or "deciding which schools to apply to."

"Students look at the tuition costs for schools, which in some cases can exceed $30,000, and are understandably concerned," Lunch-Money.com president Mark Rothbaum said. "For many students, pursuing a college education will go hand in hand with accumulating significant student loan debt. However, it's important that they step back and appreciate that a college education isn't like buying a stereo or a car. It's a long-term investment."

According to U.S. Census data, the median income for people with a bachelor's degree was $50,394 in 2004 compared with a median income of $31,075 for people with only a high school diploma. In addition to higher incomes, college graduates tend to have much lower unemployment rates, greater freedom in selecting a profession, and an easier time switching jobs.

Note: *94 percent of Lunch-Money.com registered users are students; 6 percent are parents

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