Student Finances: Borrowing and Other Sources of Funding for Post-Secondary Studies Many students find it necessary to draw on more than one source of

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1 DACSO Diploma, Associate Degree, & Certificate Student Outcomes Student Finances: orrowing and Other Sources of Funding for Post-Secondary Studies Many students find it necessary to draw on more than one source of funding to pay for their post-secondary education. Tuition, direct expenses textbooks, supplies, equipment and an increasing need for technology are not the only concerns. For those who had to relocate to study or do not live at home, everyday living expenses become the major part of the cost of education. ow do students meet all their expenses? ow much do students rely on borrowing? What other sources of funding do they use? INFORMATION PAPER Volume 6 No. 1 Winter 2009 ISSN This paper is from a series presenting information on subjects of interest, using data from the ritish Columbia Diploma, Associate Degree, and Certificate Student Outcomes Survey. This Information Paper and others are available at bcstats. gov.bc.ca/ Publications/. Introduction Government student loans are designed to provide supplemental financial assistance for meeting postsecondary education costs. Students are expected to use other available sources before borrowing and to contribute financially to their post-secondary education and they do. Students work while they study, use their personal savings, get help from parents, spouses, and friends, apply for scholarships, and so on. They also borrow from sources other than government student loan programs. For many years, the annual survey of former students from diploma, associate degree, and certificate programs (formerly known as the C College and Institute Student Outcomes Survey) has included questions on how students pay for their post-secondary education. The questions on student finances vary year to year: questions on sources of funding are asked every two or three years, and a smaller set of questions on borrowing is asked every year. There have been other analyses of student finances data from the survey: two reports (using data from 1999 and 2001) and a 2004 information paper. 1 It is important to bear in mind that the survey is ad- Overview Respondents to the annual survey of former diploma, associate degree, and certificate students identified the major sources of funding for their education as student loans, employment, family or friends, and personal savings. About half of the former students surveyed said they borrowed funds, from a government student loan program or other sources. Since 2001, the percentage of those with student loans has gone down somewhat, while the rate of borrowing from other sources has gone up. As well, the amounts borrowed have increased over time at a rate greater than the rate of increase in the cost of living. The former students who borrowed the most were the most likely to be parents and to have relocated to study. They also reported having the most financial difficulties: they were more likely to have interrupted their studies or attended part time for financial reasons. Nevertheless, their subsequent employment outcomes were very good their average hourly wage was higher than that of all other former students.

2 ministered to former students who have completed or almost completed their programs; the outcomes of former students who left their programs early are unknown, as are their reasons for leaving. The 2003 C College and Institute Short Stay Pilot Survey 2 found that almost one-third of those surveyed said that finances were an important factor in their decision to leave their studies before finishing. orrowing to study Students who need to borrow to support themselves while studying can apply to government student loan programs through Student Aid C or they can borrow from banks, friends and family, or credit card accounts. Every year, the survey asks former students if they received government student loans or if they borrowed from other sources. Rates of borrowing and amounts borrowed About half of the former students who respond to the survey s finances questions each year say they borrowed from one or more source to finance their studies. In 2005 and 2007, the combined percentage of those who reported borrowing from a government student loan program or other source was the same. In 2006, that percentage was somewhat lower, demonstrated in a 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% orrowing from all sources 2005 to % 46% 33% 32% 28% 25% 52% 28% decrease in borrowing from non-governmental sources. The percentage of those who borrowed from both government and other sources for their program of studies has increased slightly since 2005, but remained constant at 11 percent in both 2006 and Approximately one-third of respondents in 2005 and 2006 reported having had a government student loan. This percentage has not varied much since 2001 and 2003, when 30 and 34 percent of respondents, respectively, said they had received a government student loan. 3 In 2007, the percentage borrowing from the gov- orrowing from all sources Government student loan Loan from other sources ernment was a little lower at 28 percent. etween 2005 and 2007, the median government loan amount reported increased by 11 percent (from $9,000 to $10,000 in unadjusted dollars). The former students surveyed in 2005 and 2007 would likely have left their programs in 2004 and 2006 between those years, the cost of living in.c. increased by only 3.7 percent. 4 The cost of tuition, however, increased by 8.7 percent from the academic year 2003/2004 to 2004/2005 and a further 1.5 percent from that year to 2005/ reakdown of borrowing from all sources 2005 to n % n % n % Government student loan only 1,917 24% 1,685 21% 1,375 17% Other sources only 1,494 19% 1,158 14% 1,924 24% oth government loan and other 731 9% % % Did not borrow 3,793 48% 4,359 54% Data for this paper Data for this paper came from results of the C College and Institute Student Outcomes Survey (now the Diploma, Associate Degree, and Certificate Student Outcomes (DACSO) Survey), 2003 to In each survey year, 50 percent of all respondents (approximately 8,000 former students) were asked questions about their finances. References to respondents in this paper are to those former students who answered the finances questions, not all respondents to the survey. The annual DACSO survey of former diploma, associate degree, and certificate students does not include former students from degree programs; they are surveyed in the accalaureate Graduate Survey (GS) that is conducted by the Research University Council of C ( Since degree students from colleges, university colleges, and institutes participated in the DACSO survey before 2006, their data have been removed from the analysis for this paper, to ensure comparability. 3,920 48% Total 7, % 8, % 8, %

3 Government student loans 2003 to 2007 Loans from other sources 2005 to 2007 $8,000 $8,000 34% 32% $10,000 $10,000 $9,000 33% 32% 28% $5,000 28% $3,500 25% $5, Percent with student loan Median amount for those who borrowed Percent with loans from other sources Median amount for those who borrowed In 2007, there was a significant increase over 2006 in the percentage of respondents who said they had borrowed from sources other than government student loans and in the amounts borrowed from 25 percent borrowing a median amount of $3,500 to 35 percent borrowing a median of $5,000. Although the average amounts borrowed from other sources vary considerably year-to-year, there does appear to be a trend toward borrowing higher amounts. In both 2001 and 2003, the median amount reported by former students who borrowed from sources other than government was $3,000, 6 while the amount for 2005 and 2007 respondents was $5,000. Even though the percentage of former students who borrowed from any source either government student loans or other sources changed between 2006 and 2007, the combined median amount borrowed (in unadjusted dollars) was the same each year, at $9,000. There were considerable variations, however, in the combined loan amounts and in the rates of borrowing by program area. In 2007, there were some program areas (for example, Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Science; Communications; or Transportation) where over 60 percent of the students borrowed and the median loan was over $12,000. Other program areas, such as Education and Library Science or Construction and Precision Production, had rates of borrowing of 45 percent or under and median loans of only $5,000. orrowing by program Percent Median Percent Median Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Science 61% $13,000 62% $14,000 Arts and Sciences 43% $8,000 50% $8,000 usiness and Management 46% $10,000 47% $10,000 Communications 54% $13,000 65% $12,650 Computer and Information Services 43% $9,000 54% $9,000 Construction and Precision Production 38% $6,000 45% $5,000 Education and Library Science 33% $6,500 42% $5,000 Engineering, Electrical, and Electronics 53% $10,000 60% $12,000 Legal and Social 50% $10,000 47% $8,000 Mechanical and Related 46% $7,000 53% $8,900 Nursing and Other ealth 50% $10,000 57% $10,000 Recreation, Tourism, ospitality, and Service 46% $8,500 54% $8,000 Transportation $14,000 83% $15,300 Visual, Performing, and Fine Arts 55% $8,000 61% $10,000 46% $9,000 52% $9,000 Note: Combined borrowing comprises government student loans and loans from other sources. For ease of presentation, the most recent two years of data are shown. In addition to borrowing from government student loan programs and other sources for their recent studies, a number of survey respondents about 8 or 9 percent per year reported carrying debt from previous post-secondary education. This rate has been consistent, even though the percentage of survey respondents who reported having taken previous post-secondary studies has increased from 41 percent in 2005 to 48 percent in The average amount of previous debt reported has risen since 2005, increasing by 14.3 percent between 2005 and 2007, from a median of $7,000 to $8,000 (in unadjusted dollars).

4 Previous debt 2005 to 2007 orrowers by gender and family status $7,000 $7, % 8.8% $8, % 52% 52% 50% 58% 26% 19% 16% 15% Percent with previous debt Median amount for those who had previous debt Non-borrowers Light Moderate eavy Female Parent Profile of borrowers In the 2006 and 2007 surveys, a total of 7,312 former students reported the amounts they borrowed from government student loan programs, loans from other sources, or previous debt. ased on the amounts they reported, these respondents were divided into three groups or categories of borrowers. Light borrowers, those who borrowed up to $5,000; moderate borrowers, whose amounts were over $5,000 and up to $15,000; and heavy borrowers, those whose total borrowing was over $15,000. The median amounts borrowed by these different groups ranged from $3,000 for light borrowers to $24,000 for the heavy borrowers. orrowers and non-borrowers 2006 and 2007 % n Amount borrowed Light (Up to $5,000) 14% 2,295 $3,000 Moderate ($5,001 to $15,000) 18% 2,890 $10,000 eavy (over $15,000) 13% 2,127 $24,000 Non-borrowers 48% 7,855 $0 No amount reported 7% 1,077 Note: data from the 2006 and 2007 surveys have been combined. Amounts borrowed are medians. On many characteristics, heavy borrowers were different from non-borrowers and other borrowers. For example, heavy borrowers were more likely to be female and much more likely to be parents. The heavy borrowers were also significantly older than other borrowers and non-borrowers. They had a median age of 27, compared with 24 for moderate and light borrowers and 23 for non-borrowers. About 7 percent of heavy borrowers reported having a disability or condition that limits their activities, as did 6 percent of moderate and 5 percent of light borrowers. Note: Combined data from 2006 and Relocation to attend school had an impact on the amount of borrowing by students. In 2007, 17 percent of those who did not borrow said they had relocated from their home community to attend their recent program. The rate of relocation was higher for borrowers, increasing with the amount borrowed: 20 percent for light borrowers, 29 percent for moderate, and 37 percent for heavy borrowers. In fact, of all those who relocated to study in 2006 and 2007, 23 percent were heavy borrowers. eavy and moderate borrowers were more likely than light and non-borrowers to have taken Applied programs: 26 versus 19 percent. eavy borrowers were the most likely to have taken Nursing and Other ealth programs. Respondents were asked if they had had to interrupt their studies for financial reasons 7 percent of non-borrowers said yes. This proportion increased dramatically to 19 percent for heavy borrowers. As well, heavy borrowers were more likely than non-borrowers to have attended part time for financial reasons, although the difference was not as great. Interestingly, light borrowers had the highest percentage of attending part time in response to financial difficulties. There was considerable difference in these rates between those who left Applied programs and those who left Arts and Sciences. Former Arts and Sciences students were much more likely to have interrupted their studies or attended part time for financial reasons; this difference was most pronounced for heavy borrowers. The level of debt former students carry may be affecting their choices regarding further education at least for those who left Arts and Sciences programs. Those with the greatest debt were the least likely to continue their studies: the group of heavy borrowers from Arts and Sciences were somewhat less likely to continue their education after leaving their

5 Programs taken by borrowers and non-borrowers Non-borrowers Light Moderate eavy n=7,855 n=2,295 n=2,890 n=2,127 Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Science 2% 1% 3% 5% Arts and Sciences 26% 26% 20% 19% usiness and Management 15% 12% 13% 15% Communications 1% 1% 2% 3% Computer and Information Services 2% 2% 3% 2% Construction and Precision Production 9% 10% 8% 2% Education and Library Science 5% 5% 3% 3% Engineering, Electrical, and Electronics 6% 5% 8% 10% Legal and Social 6% 6% 6% 5% Mechanical and Related 7% 8% 8% 5% Nursing and Other ealth 12% 14% 14% 20% Recreation, Tourism, ospitality, and Service 6% 6% 7% 4% Transportation 0% 0% 0% 1% Visual, Performing, and Fine Arts 4% 5% 5% 6% Nonborrowers Light Moderate Interrupted studies 26% 21% 11% 13% 11% Note: Combined data from 2006 and Interrupted studies or attended part time for financial reasons 6% Attended part time 10% 11% 16% 16% 100% 100% 100% 100% 34% 31% In addition to earning more once they have completed their studies, heavy borrowers are much more likely to be eligible for one of the programs that are available to former students with government student loan debt. These programs (e.g., loan reduction, loan forgiveness) are available to help former students manage or reduce their debt after they leave their programs. Forty-five percent of the heavy borrowers received a loan reduction, compared with 26 percent of moderate borrowers, and 19 percent of light borrowers. In summary, the profile of borrowers shows that, compared with other borrowers and non-borrowers, heavy borrowers were older, more likely to be parents, and more likely to have relocated to study. At the time of the survey, their rates of further education were lower, and those who were employed tended to earn more, on average, than other former students. Non-borrowers were more likely to be male, more likely to have been in Arts and Sciences programs, and much less likely to have interrupted their studies or attended part-time for financial reasons. Other sources of funding In addition to borrowing to support their studies, students make use of many other sources of funding. Former students were asked to cite their top sources of funding; in 2006, the most eavy 15% 14% 38% Further education rates of borrowers by the program they left Applied Arts and Sciences Note: Combined data from 2006 and % 81% 78% 74% recent programs. The rates of continuing education at the time of the survey fell steadily across categories, from non-borrowers to heavy borrowers. At the time of the survey, the employment rate for all borrowers and non-borrowers was similar, although borrowers were somewhat more likely to be employed and a little more likely to have more than one job. A more notable difference was that heavy borrowers earned more, on average. 33% 32% 31% 31% Non-borrowers Light Moderate eavy Applied Arts and Sciences Note: Combined data from 2006 and 2007.

6 $16 $16 $16 79% 81% 81% 18% Employment and earnings at the time of the survey 22% 19% $18 82% Non-borrowers Light Moderate eavy Employed More than one job 22% ourly wage Note: ourly wage is the median of the amounts reported for each respondent s job or main job if they had more than one. Combined data from 2006 and frequently cited non-repayable sources of funding were support from family or friends, employment, and personal savings. Changes over time Comparing responses from 2003 and 2006 can illustrate some changes over time in the kinds of funding used. 7 It should be noted that in 2003, respondents 33% 32% 29% 10% 8% 8% Top sources of funding 39% 36% 11% 7% 8% could select up to two top sources of funding; in 2006, up to three sources could be reported. For purposes of comparison, only the top two sources for 2006 are reported here. Excluding student or personal loans, the top sources of funding have not changed over time they are employment, family or friends, and personal savings in 2006, Employment while studying Family and friends Personal savings Scholarships or grants Employment insurance or employer Other sources of funding Note: Totals add to more than 100 percent because respondents could choose up to two sources of funding. Other sources of funding includes other government funding, band funding, and room and board. however, more respondents chose a second source of funding, so the percentages choosing each source have gone up. Room and board may not have been identified as a top source of funding by many former students, but when 2006 survey respondents were asked directly if they received free or subsidized room and board, 41 percent said yes. Younger respondents were more likely to say yes: of the former students under 30 years old, 52 percent received room and board, compared with 14 percent of those 30 and older. The respondents under 30 were also much more likely to cite financial support from family or friends and less likely to say they used personal savings for their education; they were also more likely to cite employment as a top source of funding. These differences persisted between 2003 and Changes in top sources of funding, by age Family 40% and friends 48% Personal savings Employment while studying 37% 38% Under 30 27% Working to pay for education 30 & older 17% 19% 24% % 30% 38% To shed light on working as a source of funding and on the relationship of working to borrowing, the survey includes some direct questions about respondents employment during their studies. In 2006 (the most recent year these questions were asked), 60 percent of those who answered the finances questions said they worked during the last semester of their studies, and 46 percent borrowed from a government student loan program or other source. Of all respondents, 26 percent worked and borrowed, 34 percent worked and did not borrow, 20 percent borrowed and did not work, and 20 percent did neither. For the respondents who reported that they worked during their last semester, the average number of hours they worked has not changed from 2003 to 2006: the median hours worked was 20 per week. The difference in the percentage who said they worked was small: 58 percent in 2003 versus 60 percent in This question was also asked on the 2004 survey,

7 and while the percentage saying they worked was a little lower (55 percent), the median hours worked was the same at 20. Across program areas, there was some variation in the percentage of former students who worked and the average number of hours worked. Almost threequarters of former Arts and Sciences students said they worked during their last semester; this is well above the overall average of 60 percent. It is also significantly higher than the average for former Applied students, which was 55 percent. To examine the effects of working while studying, the former students who reported this type of employment were grouped according to the number of hours they worked per week. There were three groups: Low (those who worked 1 to 15 hours per week), Medium (16 to 25 hours), and igh (over 25 hours). The former students who worked the most hours while they studied were the least 39% ours worked in last semester, by program n % worked ours worked Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Science 59 36% 10 Arts and Sciences 1,444 72% 20 usiness and Management % 24 Communications 76 62% 20 Computer and Information Services % 20 Construction and Precision Production % 20 Education and Library Science % 29 Engineering, Electrical, and Electronics % 16 Legal and Social % 21 Mechanical and Related % 18 Nursing and Other ealth % 18 Recreation, Tourism, ospitality, and Service % 20 Transportation 10 53% 16 Visual, Performing, and Fine Arts % 16 likely to borrow the difference in government student loan rates between those who worked 15 hours or fewer per week and those who worked more than 25 hours is dramatic. 8 Those who worked high or medium hours were also somewhat less likely than those who worked low hours to have previous debt. orrowing by hours worked while studying 30% 26% 25% 24% 10% 15% 7% 7% Note: Data from 2006; n= those who worked. ours shown are medians. As expected, the combined rate of borrowing for government student loans and loans from other sources declined as the hours worked increased. Thirtythree percent of those who worked high hours (over 25 per week) borrowed, compared with 51 percent of those who worked low hours (1 to 15). The rate of borrowing for those who worked low hours is very close to the rate for those who did not work while they studied, which was 50 percent. Further, the amounts borrowed for those who borrowed were considerably less for those who worked more hours. $9,000 51% $8,000 45% Conclusion Post-secondary students pay for their education in a variety of ways, and borrowing is only one of them. For those students who need loans, however, they are an important resource, and about half of the former students surveyed in recent years reported that they borrowed money for their education, either from a government student loan program Combined borrowing (government student loans and loans from other sources) for former students who worked, by hours worked $5,000 33% Low (1 to 15) Medium (16 to 25) igh (over 25) Previous debt Loans from other sources Government student loans Note: Data from Low (1 to 15) Medium (16 to 25) igh (over 25) Combined borrowing (percentage who borrowed) Combined loan amounts (median amounts) Note: Data from 2006.

8 or from other sources. Over time, the proportion of those who had government student loans has gone down a little, while the percentage of those drawing on other forms of credit though more variable has trended upwards since Likewise, the average amounts borrowed have increased, and even though unadjusted dollars are reported here, the rate of increase in amounts is greater than the increase in the cost of living in.c., over the same period. It is possible that loan increases are related, in part, to higher tuition costs, since the rate of increase in tuition, for the years noted, was significantly higher than the increase in the rate of inflation. There are a number of factors that influence rates of borrowing and amounts borrowed. The survey respondents who borrowed the most money when they were students were somewhat older on average, more likely to be parents and to have relocated to study, and more likely to have taken Applied programs, especially nursing and health-related programs. There are indications that heavy borrowing does not solve students financial problems, since those who borrowed the most were also the most likely to interrupt their studies for financial reasons and to say they had to attend part time due to finances. On the other hand, those who borrowed more tended to work fewer hours per week while they were studying. They were also more likely to receive government student loan reductions. Including loans, the top sources of funding that former students report employment, family or friends, personal savings, and government student loans have not changed since the survey first asked the question in There are some notable differences by program: former Arts and Sciences students were more likely than former Applied students to say employment was an important source of funds and less likely to rely on government student loans. owever, for the Arts and Sciences respondents who had loans, there is some evidence to suggest that those who borrowed heavily are less likely to return to further education. At the time of the survey, the rates of continuing education for Arts and Sciences respondents were the lowest for those who borrowed the most. On the plus side, it appears that borrowing for education, even borrowing a lot, can pay off in subsequent labour market participation. Although heavy borrowers left their studies with a large debt burden, they have excellent employment outcomes; in particular, their reported wage is, on average, significantly higher than that of other former students. Endnotes 1 Previous reports and papers are available here gov.bc.ca/publications/index.asp. 2 A report on the Short Stay survey is available here 3 See Meeting the Costs: Post-Secondary Student Funding and Debt, CISO Information Paper Vol. 2 No. 2, Summer 2004, page 3. 4 ritish Columbia Consumer Price Index, Annual Averages, Selected Items. Prepared by C Stats, anuary Source: Statistics Canada. 5 Tuition increases are based on weighted averages for tuition fees at.c. s public post-secondary institutions (colleges, institutes, and the new universities only). Source: Academic Arts Annual Tuition Fees for Full-Time Students by Sector, produced by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development, Funding and Analysis ranch Operating. 6 From Meeting the Costs: Post-Secondary Student Funding and Debt. 7 The sources of funding question is not asked every year; data are available for 2003 and 2006 only. 8 It is possible that some of these former students attended their programs part time and took advantage of the federal part-time student loan program, which provides funding for study costs, such as tuition and books, but not living expenses. For information on student loans in.c., see the Student Aid C Student Guide at forms/documents/studentguide_0809.pdf. Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development CStats About the DACSO Survey The Diploma, Associate Degree, and Certificate Student Outcomes (DACSO) Survey (formerly called the C College and Institute Student Outcomes Survey) is an annual province-wide survey of former students from.c. s public post-secondary institutions who have taken diploma, certificate, or associate degree programs. It is conducted with funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development and from the participating post-secondary institutions. Former students are contacted 9 to 20 months after completing all, or a significant portion, of their program of study and asked to evaluate their educational experience and to talk about their employment outcomes, further education, and personal development. The results of the survey are used by the institutions to improve programs and services. The Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development uses the information for post-secondary policy development and accountability. Students, parents, and the general public can view Student Outcomes Reports through the student outcomes website ( or Education Planner ( to help them make informed post-secondary education choices. The ritish Columbia Outcomes Working Group (OWG) oversees the survey project. The OWG is a long-standing partnership among the participating institutions, the Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development, and a number of system-wide organizations. For more information on the DACSO project, please see

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