Students are often unable to pay the costs of college through work, scholarships, family contributions and grants alone. Research indicates that half of all students borrow in their first year of college, and half of the remaining students borrow within six years of enrolling.11
Students need support deciding whether to and how much to borrow in order to be financially stable while in school. If they do borrow, students may need more guidance on how to plan to successfully repay their debt.
- Students seldom estimate their student debt correctly – even while they are still in school. (Q69)
- More than half of respondents who borrowed at 2-year institutions (58 percent) – and 62 percent at 4-year institutions – agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that they had more student loan debt than they expected at this point.
- Many students borrow but have little confidence in their ability to repay. (Q70)
- More than two-thirds of respondents that borrowed at 2-year institutions (70 percent) – and 73 percent at 4-year institutions – were not at all confident or only somewhat confident they would be able to pay off the debt acquired while they were a student.
Q69: I have more student loan debt than I expected to have at this point. (of those who indicated having a student loan they took out for themselves)
Q70: How confident are you that you will be able to pay off the debt acquired while you were a student? (of those who indicated having a student loan they took out for themselves)
Q72: The amount of total debt (e.g., credit card debt, car loan debt, or money owed to family or friends) I have right now is overwhelming.
Q71: When you first received your student loan, did you receive any in-person or online counseling that informed you about your student loans? (of respondents with a student loan)
Many institutions supplement the required federal student loan counseling for student borrowers with one-on-one or small group sessions where students can receive more personalized information. With limited resources, some institutions target specialized counseling to specific students. Many incorporate data and analytics into their targeting strategies in an effort to maximize the effectiveness of their resources.12