Most U.S. students experience stress regarding their personal finances and many worry about having enough money to pay for their postsecondary education, according to the recently released National Student Financial Wellness Study (NSFWS).
The survey, conducted among nearly 19,000 students by The Ohio State University and designed to create an accurate picture of college students’ financial wellness, highlights five key areas:
The survey found that 72.1 percent of students feel stress about their personal finances, a feeling more prevalent among students at two-year public institutions than students at public or private four-year institutions. Close to 60 percent of all students report that they worry about not having enough money to pay for their education.
According to the study, 64 percent of students use loans to pay for college and 35.5 percent use student loans as their primary source of funding their tuition. Another 35 percent said their primary funding source for their tuition was scholarships and grants, 19.4 percent said it came from their parents or family, and 3.2 percent said it came from personal savings. Seventy-one percent of students with higher education debt said they took out federal loans and 19.4 percent said they took out a combination of federal and private loans, followed by 3.9 percent who said they only took out private loans.
Students at private, four-year institutions were more likely to report holding a combination of federal and private student loans and were also the most likely to not know what type of student loan they hold, as well as more likely to not know how much educational debt they hold.
Across all school types, 56.7 percent of students with loans hold between $1 and $19,999 in loans. Just under 32 percent said they are currently holding between $1 and $9,999 in student debt, which is the largest percentage reported. About 25 percent said they hold between $10,000 and $19,999 in student loan debt. Students at two-year public institutions were more likely to report holding lower debt levels than their counterparts at four-year institutions, public or private. Over 20 percent of students expect to graduate with $50,000 or more in loans.
When asked about the entrance counseling they received for their federal student loans, 77.5 percent of students from public two-year institutions said they remembered their counseling, followed by 67.3 percent of students at public four-year institutions and 63.2 percent of students at four-year private schools. Seventy-nine percent of all students said they found the entrance counseling to be helpful, with 33.2 percent of students at two-year public institutions, 23.4 percent of students at four-year public institutions, and 21.4 percent of student at four-year private institutions saying the counseling was helpful.
Just over 30 percent of students surveyed said they had attended a personal finance class or workshop in high schools and 22.9 percent said they did so in college. Thirty-seven percent of students said they have met with a financial aid counselor, 28.7 percent have met with a financial counselor or advisor, 17.9 percent have met with a peer counselor, and 9 percent have met with a credit counselor.
Publication Date: 7/9/2015