College students today face undeniably difficult pressures. They have to contend with college costs that have skyrocketed over the past few decades and they must navigate to earn an education during a global pandemic.
According to Annual citizen student loan survey conducted from June 15 to 26 among 2,019 students and their parents, these realities are in the foreground. An estimated 70% of current college students say concerns about college affordability had a moderate or high impact on enrollment plans in fall 2021.
Public health concerns about the coronavirus have declined slightly since last year. In 2020, 53% of current students said they were worried about their safety due to the pandemic. Still, 36% of current students said such concerns had a big impact on their plans for fall 2021.
“Our annual survey has consistently shown that young adults worry about their future and the cost of education,” says Christine Roberts, head of student loans at Citizens. “We are seeing families embrace discussions about the cost of education sooner and it remains essential for financial institutions to continue supporting their clients as they navigate these difficult family conversations.”
Half of families tell citizens they had conversations about paying for college education in their students’ first two years of high school or before, and 20% say they had these discussions in grade 8 or before .
While the pandemic may have temporarily slowed the rise in college costs, 56% of respondents say they expect their costs (including tuition, accommodation and meals, meals, travel and activities) are increasing this year by $ 8,700, on average.
Over the past 10 years, tuition fees have increased by around 25% and US student debt has increased by over 100%. Today, 44.7 million borrowers collectively owe more than $ 1.7 trillion student debt dollars.
The pandemic can also affect the number of years students can expect to spend in school.
A 2020 survey of 3,941 students pursuing a bachelor’s degree and 2,064 students pursuing an associate’s degree by Gallup and the Lumina Foundation found that about half of students think it is likely that Covid-19 will have a negative impact on their ability to complete their program.
Among students earning a bachelor’s degree, 49% of students said the pandemic would likely or very likely have an impact on their ability to graduate, while even more 56% of those earning an associate degree said the same. .
Currently just 41% of full-time students for the first time get a bachelor’s degree in four years, and only 59% obtain a bachelor’s degree in six years. This means that many students will have to fund more than the four years allotted to earn a bachelor’s degree, and millions of people will go into debt and still fail to graduate.
Unfortunately, student loan borrowers who do not graduate often struggle financially. Indeed, the default rate of borrowers who have not graduated is three times higher than the rate of borrowers who have graduated.
In addition to public health and affordability concerns, the students also stressed that what they wanted to study was a top priority. Fifty-five percent of students told citizens that a college with a specific program of study they were interested in was a “must-have” when choosing where to enroll.