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College Plans Delayed by the Pandemic Are Back on Track

After Sitting out for a Year, Students Are Heading to College

When the pandemic hit in 2020, one quarter of high school graduates delayed their college plans, according to a recent survey. This was due to a number of factors. Parents and guardians who lost jobs were not able to pay tuition. Additionally, students who were excited about the campus experience were reluctant to start their freshman year on Zoom (ZM).

As the pandemic subsides, most recent high school graduates are getting back to their pre-COVID college plans. However, many families are still concerned about the financial burden of paying for college.

Rising College Costs Weigh on Families

A survey found that about 40% of parents feel that they are more able to help pay for college now than they were in the midst of the pandemic. But 63% of families are still concerned about how they will pay for college.

The cost of higher education is climbing. For the 2020-21 academic year, average tuition and fees for in-state students at public colleges rose by 1.1% to $10,560. At private institutions, tuition was up 2.1%, hitting $37,650.

Students Take on More Debt

Most students borrow to pay the cost of college. As the price tag on a college education increases, student loan debt in the US has already surpassed $1.7 trillion.

A recent study by NerdWallet showed that a 2021 high school graduate could take on an average of as much as $38,147 in student loans. That is a significant increase compared to the average of $37,200 which 2020 high school grads shouldered. Many students and families are celebrating a return to normalcy ahead of the fall semester, but they are also thinking about the financial burden of this new chapter.

If you’ve exhausted federal student aid options and still need help, you can apply for a private student loan from a private lender alone or with a co-signer. SoFi’s no-fee private student loans are an option for students to help pay for college and graduate school. Plus, cosign on an undergraduate private student loan by 7/27/21 and get $200.

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Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility-criteria for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.


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ABOUT Meg Richardson Meg Richardson is a writer specializing in markets, technology, and personal finance. She loves breaking down seemingly complex ideas and making them readable and interesting for everyone. She holds an MFA in writing from Columbia University. When she is not writing about finance, she enjoys running in Central Park and drawing cartoons.

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