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A countrywide survey set up by Ascent Student Loans has revealed students are paying more for their college educations than they anticipated. Furthermore, they don’t think their education is paying off as much as the price tag indicates it should.
Almost half of the college students surveyed are coughing up more money for college than they thought they would, with most of the students handling a minimum of 50 percent of the costs. But more students than that, at 51 percent, don’t think the benefit of their education is equal to the cost.
More About the Survey
The new survey included 1,027 college students who were pursuing four-year bachelor’s degrees. The students, who were between the ages of 18 to 24, must have taken out student loans to be eligible for the survey.
The survey also showed students didn’t know as much about their financing options and details as they thought they did. The survey revealed 55 percent of the students were the ones largely in charge of figuring out their student loan options. And almost 90 percent of students said they had a moderate understanding of their school finances.
Despite that claim, 68 percent didn’t understand that interest would start accruing on the loan disbursement date. The fact the average student loan payment is more than $200 per month was something only 21 percent of the students knew, with some thinking it was under $100.
Many students are pleased with how their college keeps them abreast of how much their education will cost. They also said the colleges could do a better job of talking about the return they can expect on the investment they’re making in their education.
“The survey findings highlight a shift we have seen ever since the financial crisis – following multiple years of state budget cuts and increased tuition costs, people now regularly view education as an expense, rather than as an investment,” Ken Ruggiero said in a press release. Ruggiero serves as the chairman and chief executive officer of Goal Structured Solutions, Inc., which is the Ascent Student Loans administrator.
Ruggiero said colleges need to remind students they are making an investment in their future with a college education by showing them what the graduation rates are and how much they can expect to earn.
Teaching Students About Their Financial Aid Choices
Students in the survey said they most often depend upon the financial aid office at their college to provide them with their choices about financial aid – 36 percent of the students sought out that source for information. Almost 50 percent of the students also named the financial aid office as their most trusted source of financial information.
Despite turning to the financial aid office for information, almost one-third of those surveyed thought private student loan companies should also bear some of the burden of educating them by giving planning assistance and student loan financing tips, plus providing tools.
Author: Shannon Serpette
Shannon Serpette is a mother of two and an award-winning journalist and freelancer who lives in Illinois. When she’s not spending time with her children, she is often pursuing her favorite hobbies – running, metal detecting, kayaking, and reading about personal finance.