Midwestern State University freshman Andrew Duncan knows all too well what it's like to have to change college plans. Andrew's the fifth of seven kids in his family, and paying for it is a hefty burden on his parents.
Because of hiking tuition costs, he wasn't able to go to his first choice and long-time family alumni, the University of Oklahoma. For that matter, he wasn't able to finance his second choice school or his third. He was accepted to OU, Baylor University, and University of North Texas.
Andrew said, "What I wanted to get from college I could get from MSU and it would be cheaper and I could still live in Wichita Falls with all my friends and everything, so... basically just decided at that point - why waste the money and still be more expensive than MSU and just live at home and go here."
And Andrew's not alone. A year ago, six in ten college freshmen said the economy affected where they decided to go to school.
For some students, school choice is not the only thing changing because of the weak job market. In fact, Andrew's dad gave him some advice about his first choice in college majors: theatre. His dad suggested Andrew pick a major that would lead to him being able to land a good paying job after graduation (not theatre). Andrew says he didn't want to have to borrow money to go to a school and then end up getting a degree in something that wouldn't result in a good job, especially in the current market.
Andrew tried to get grants, financial aid and scholarships to ease the burden, but the money he was awarded wasn't enough. On top of that, he says, the process is confusing and can even be misleading.
"Not only are there not a lot of scholarships and everything, but it's so difficult to figure out which ones you're actually eligible for and which ones you're not. And how to apply for the right ones..."
Now though, Andrew and his family don't have to worry about that process anymore because MSU isn't as expensive as other universities.
MSU is always working to better the quality of education for students here in Texoma. The university was just named one of the ten least expensive public colleges for out of state students by U.S. News and World Report.