The cost of college is a huge obstacle, but students say free college would be the biggest factor in their decision to return to college.

Cost remains the top barrier to higher education


Surveyed students say free college would be the biggest determining factor in their decision to return to a postsecondary education path

The cost of college, including the expense of living and the cost of tuition and course materials, is the biggest barrier to post-secondary education for students.

Not surprisingly, current, future and students who dropped out say “free college” would have the single biggest impact on them finishing or returning to post-secondary education, according to the Barriers to Post-Secondary Education Report from Cengage Group, a global education technology company.

The company surveyed more than 1,600 current college students, recent high school graduates and students who have dropped out of post-secondary education to better understand their education barriers and what would have the biggest impact on them completing their education.

“Access to quality post-secondary education, be it in the form of a traditional degree or a skills-based certification, provides a clear path to job opportunities and economic mobility, however students need more affordable and flexible options,” said Michael Hansen, CEO of Cengage. “While ‘free college’ ranked high as having the biggest impact on students accessing and continuing their education, flexibility to take courses online was the second biggest factor. All of us serving higher education need to do more to lower the cost of education and increase awareness of flexible programs that meet learners where they are.”

Laura Ascione