From getting into your first-choice school to moving away from home, going to college is stressful. But more than anything, the top concern parents and students share these days is paying the tab and any ensuing debt burden, according to The Princeton Review's 2016 College Hopes & Worries survey.
A majority of students and parents said their biggest concern was the "level of debt to pay for the degree," followed by "will get into first-choice college, but won't have sufficient funds/aid to attend."
Contrast that to a decade ago, when the most commonly cited answer was "won't get in to first-choice college."
It's no wonder. College costs have rapidly increased over the past decade. At public four-year schools, expenses for the 2015–16 school year rose to about $19,500 from $12,000 a decade ago, according to the College Board. Tuition plus room and board at four-year private universities is even higher — almost $44,000 on average, up from about $29,000 in the 2005–2006 school year.
"College costs have increased two times to three times faster than the rate of inflation every year consecutively for the last 20," said Robert Franek, senior vice president and publisher at The Princeton Review.