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SAN FRANCISCO -- A new survey of the nation's college freshmen shows that the percentage attending their first-choice school has reached its lowest level in almost four decades, as cost has become a growing factor in where students enroll.

The survey conducted by UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute found that more than three-quarters of those who started college last fall were offered admission to their dream school, but only 57 percent ended up at their top pick. That's the lowest rate in the 39 years the institute has included the question in its annual survey.

The institute's interim managing director, Kevin Eagan, says the cost of attending college appears to be largely responsible. Almost half of the respondents said receiving financial aid was a crucial factor in why they enrolled where they did. That's an all-time high.

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