HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. — A new study of the financial needs of prospective students suggested that credit unions could play a key role in helping them meet student loan needs.

MeritaiAid.com, an Internet site that provides data on more than 2,000 colleges and merit based student aid nationwide, sponsored the survey that found 16% of surveyed students said they were putting college plans on hold because of financial considerations.

The survey found that 57% of the 2,500 students surveyed said they are now considering a less prestigious school because of affordability and 85% said they had significantly increased the time and energy they spend searching for student aid.

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