Students are Flunking College Financing 101

Nearly 50% of high-school seniors can’t guess how much money they’ll need to pay for college.

September 15, 2013
As another semester gets underway, families of college-age students have received fall tuition bills, and they’re deciding how much they need in private student loans to help meet the cost of tuition and expenses.
But nearly 50% of high-school seniors can’t even guess how much money they’ll need to pay for college, and many appear unable to understand the basic terms of a student loan, according to CUNA’s first annual High- School Student Borrowing Survey.
Among aspiring college attendees, 74% say they’ll need a combination of federal and private loans, family money, and jobs to support their tuition.
Nearly twice as many respondents (25%) anticipate taking out two or more student loans rather than a single loan (13%).
Student loan debt surpassed $1 trillion in 2012, exceeding credit card debt as the largest source of U.S. consumer debt, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Nearly 590 credit unions offered student loans as of December, up more than 50% since March 2011, according to CUNA research . The loans held nearly doubled to more than $2 billion during the same period.
Economists say this unprecedented level of student debt might restrict the spending power of young workers, thus harming the recovery of the housing, automobile, and consumer markets in the U.S.
Many credit unions provide financial education and seminars relating to student lending. CUNA also offers credit unions resources to further financial education among members.