A new survey shows that while many students are academically prepared to attend college, most don’t understand how to manage the financial responsibilities that come along with it. And this is in spite of seeking the advice of high school guidance counselors, family members, and friends.
While it isn’t shocking, it’s yet another reminder of the all-too-common situation that thousands of high school students walk themselves into each year.
It found that 52 percent of high school juniors and 39 percent of high school seniors admitted they were unsure of how they would pay for college. Furthermore, this feeling doesn’t always disappear once students are in college; 34 percent of college freshmen said they still felt unsure of how they would pay for school.
In fact, 52 percent of high school juniors didn’t know how much college tuition even costs. This number does improve much by the time students are seniors; 42 percent were still unaware of the average cost of tuition.
When respondents were asked if anyone else had contributed to their college savings, over half of all high school students and 67 percent of college freshmen said their parents had helped. Yet, more than a third of students admitted that they had talked to their parents only once or not at all about how they would finance college.
Interestingly, only about a third of high school students expected to rely on federal or private student loans. However, the survey did find that the expectation for student loans increased with age. For instance, 27 percent of high school juniors anticipated taking out federal student loans as opposed to 41 percent of college freshmen.
Although half of all teenagers believed they would use their college savings to help them pay for school, most admitted that they probably hadn’t saved enough. Over half of all students (61 percent of high school juniors, 59 percent of seniors, and 55 percent of college freshmen) had saved less than $5,000. Over a third had saved less than $1,000.
In spite of their uncertainty about how to save, plan, and pay for college, most teens were undivided on one fact: it was worth it. Seventy-nine percent of juniors, 81 percent of seniors, and 83 percent of college freshmen said they believe that earning a degree is worth the price tag that comes with it.
Author: Andrew Rombach
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