[2016-2017 Student Loans in America]
/R E S E A R C H/
I wanted to share the preliminary research findings of the current state of the economics of education. So far in the past five days we have surveyed 472 current students from over 148 different colleges and universities in a total of 40 states. Each of these participants was anonymous and voluntary in participation. This is research collected for my Capstone/Thesis component of the Graduate Studies program at North Central University.
/B I A S/
I am the first person to say that all research has bias. The possible bias that I acknowledge right away are that I am from the upper midwest and although we attempted to be intentional to compensate for this, it’s something I admit right away. These are also not my final research findings, simply preliminary findings… as many people have asked for and expressed interest in these!
/Q U I C K F I N D I N G S/
•Among the 340 students who reported having student loans and knowing the amount, there is $10,254,152.00 in debt.
•For students who responded by saying yes to having student loans, their average individual amount was $29,982.90. Some individual responses were as high as $225,000 and others were as low as $1,000.
•35.67% of current college students say they did not know the amount of student loans they have taken out. Meanwhile 55.2% did know exactly how much they have borrowed.
•The students surveyed who didn’t have student loans (owing $0.00) gave reasons for it without even being asked. Those overachievers! Among those reasons were: work study programs, athletic scholarships, academic scholarships, working part time or full time jobs, resident advisor programs and others took a slower pace in order to be able to afford school paying as they went.
•The average college student is transferring schools 1.75 times during their time as a student. We are finding that this may be a key factor in correlation with both amount of student loans taken out and also with graduation rates. _________________________________________________________________
•Feelings & Sentiment about Loans:
•Expected payback period:
I interpret the data here to mean that the bulk college students are saying: “My loans are or will be somewhat manageable to moderately manageable to pay back over a period of time.” However, there clearly are people responding something more like: “HELP, I don’t know what to do!” and even: “I wish somebody would have told me what I was getting into.”
•Informed/Uninformed borrowers: 22% of borrowers are saying they were “strongly uninformed”. Another 23.71% say something like “we were uninformed.” There’s still 21.92% of student’s saying they were: “neither uninformed nor informed” about the student loans they were taking out. That’s the bulk of students right there. The clear and undeniable majority.
•Experience/Education about alternatives: this is where the hypothesis of my research comes in. I truly believe that: “college students and young adults with education on alternatives to student loans take out fewer loans, have manageable debt loads and have more satisfying lives.” In these surveys, students are reporting that they are simply not being taught that there is any other ways or alternatives to pursue higher education without student loans.
/H O W Y O U C A N H E L P/
- We are still looking for more survey responses. Ideally, the project would record opinions from 1,000 students (about 500 more in the next two weeks). Below is the link to the survey for you to (take) if you’re a current student or (share) if you know someone or a group of current students. I appreciate the strong response and I’m thankful for every participant! Here is the link to the survey (still live & open for participants): https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/S9L95KX . You can also share this blog via email or social media!
- Have a conversation with any current college students, or future college students.
/N E X T S T E P S/
•story collection: if you have a story about college, finances or student loans and would like to share it, feel free to email me as I am happy to read them and also a collector of stories.
•question and answer: if you have any questions about finances or student loans or being a young adult, ask me. I would love to hear from you.
•book coming: in spring of 2017, I plan on releasing a book [for my capstone project] that has my complete findings of research, my story, other inspiring stories and practical tips of how you can take on less debt and ultimately become #Debtless!
/F O L L O W T H E J O U R N E Y/
to stay tuned in and updated on the things to come!
@JosiahKennealy on all social media platforms