How Youth Plan to Fund College

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1 College Savings Foundation 2010 Survey of Youth How Youth Plan to Fund College A survey by the College Savings Foundation of over and 17-year olds from across the country High school students step up to fund their own college costs, says college savings foundation survey Three quarters of teens say it s their responsibility The next generation of college-bound students believe it s up to them to shoulder the costs of higher education and are resigned to as much as a decade of debt to do so. These are key findings of the College Savings Foundation s first How Youth Plan to Fund College Survey of over 500 high school students across the country presented at the organization s fifth annual conference Leading the Way Forward: The Next Decade of College Savings. Three quarters (75 percent) of year old high school students surveyed said that it is their responsibility to fund part or all of their higher education costs. Although students plan to cover those costs through financial aid, loans and their own funds, deeper questioning in the survey revealed concern about overall debt levels and a lack of awareness of exactly how much debt and savings they will need. A new dynamic is reshaping the college funding landscape as many parents with reduced retirement savings and earning power are now unwilling to take on long term loans on behalf of their college-bound teens. This shifts the burden of funding straight to the student, said Peter Mazareas, Chair of CSF, a nonprofit leader helping parents save for their children s college education. Meanwhile, government loan programs which previously may have lightened the load are not sufficient to cover the escalating costs of college. As a result, the vast majority (77 percent) of high school students surveyed are grappling with tradeoffs, saying that the cost of school will definitely (30 percent) or possibly (47 percent) influence their further education plans. Of these students, 55 percent said that costs will be a factor in which college they decide to attend. At the same time, the high school students seem ready to sacrifice to meet their long-term goals: 70 percent of all students surveyed will definitely (36 percent) or possibly (34 percent) save for college or post-secondary school; and 72 percent would definitely or possibly receive money for college rather than tangible gifts. All this responsibility has not negatively affected the student-parent dialogue. Seventy percent of all students are talking to their parents about how much college costs. And despite 55 percent of their college savings being affected by current market conditions (29 percent definitely and 26 percent possibly), only 28 percent of all students said that college funding had created anxiety in the household. 529s, as they are called, are intended to support families in meeting the relentlessly rising expenses of a college education. The average annual tuition costs of attending a 4-year public and a 4-year private college or university in have increased over those of a year earlier. Including room, board and expenses, the average total costs for a 4-year public college (in-state) are up 5.9% to $15,213; and for a 4-year private college total charges are $35,636, up 4.3%, according to the College Board. Assuming such costs increase by 5% a year, the projected cost of college in 15 years will be more than $100,000 for a 4-year public college and more than $200,000 for a 4-year private college. The College Savings Foundation (CSF) is a Washington, D.C.-based notfor-profit organization whose mission is to help American families achieve their education savings goals, by working with public policy makers, media representatives and financial services industry executives in support of education savings programs. For more information on CSF and its mission, please access www. collegesavingsfoundation.org Instead students appear to be proactive in contributing to college costs. Sixty-three percent of the teens are definitely (22 percent) or possibly (41 percent) planning to use their own funds for college or higher education costs, with 40 percent of those students planning to use them for percent of their total costs.

2 To meet these goals, 45 percent of all students surveyed have already begun to save and, of those, an impressive 43 percent have already amassed between $1,000 and $5,000 towards college. This same subgroup has shown its mettle against the pull of immediate gratification with over half (54 percent) giving up things like electronics, vacations or cars to save for college. Cloud of Debt Hovers over Students Futures Student loans loom as both a major source of funding and a cloud over their futures. Sixty-six percent are either definitely or possibly taking out loans and are expecting those loans to cover sizeable portions of their higher education costs: 40 percent of this subgroup expects to borrow one-quarter to one-half, and 30 percent expect to borrow more than half of their higher education costs. Most of these students taking or considering loans are already concerned about their debt burden after college (60 percent definitely yes and 31 percent possibly concerned ), and nearly one-third (29 percent) of them expect to take between 6-10 years to pay if off. Compounding the uncertainty is the finding that the majority of students have not done their homework: 68 percent have not researched any type of student loan. Of the 66 percent who are taking out or considering loans, 80 percent has not projected the total amount they will need to graduate, and 82 percent hasn t calculated the monthly loan repayment amount. On the savings side of the ledger, students are similarly unprepared: 70 percent of all high school students have not researched savings vehicles. A quarter of all students don t know how much they will need to save, and 58 percent only possibly know. We have a tremendous opportunity to take this generation of students who are willing and eager to take financial responsibility, and to raise their awareness of the saving and funding strategies that they will need for college and for life, Mazareas said. This can start with the parents who have a strong line of communication with their teens. On the topic of financial aid and scholarships, students have been more proactive: 85 percent are definitely (48 percent) or possibly (37 percent) planning on receiving financial aid to attend college or post-secondary school. Nearly half, 48 percent, of all students have researched some type of financial aid, and over half, 53 percent, of all high school students have researched scholarships. Sixty-nine percent are definitely (26 percent) or possibly (43 percent) receiving scholarships or applying for them. Gaps in Students Knowledge of Parents Saving Strategies A majority of students (65 percent) have discussed their parents involvement in their college funding and many (45 percent) were pleased or very pleased with how much their parents had saved. Yet a closer look reveals gaps in knowledge about parent s saving strategies. Of the students who have discussed their parents involvement, 63 percent say that their parents are saving for their college, but 38 percent of them don t know how much they have saved; and 42 percent don t know if they are saving a fixed amount each month. Getting help from extended family does not appear to be a consideration for most teens surveyed. While 23 percent of the students had spoken to their grandparents or relatives about college costs, only 9 percent of all high school students definitely expected money from them, and an additional 33 percent said Of those students who think they will or could get grandparent help, 40 percent expected less than $5,000. This corresponds to the findings of CSF s 2009 State of College Savings survey of parents, which showed that only 22 percent of parents would even talk to grandparents about college costs. The CSF How Youth Plan to Fund College Survey was conducted via Zoomerang with parental approval. Forty-four percent are headed to public college, 18 percent to private college and 22 percent to community colleges. The College Savings Foundation (CSF) is a Washington, D.C.-based not-for-profit organization whose mission is to help American families achieve their education savings goals, by working with public policy makers, media representatives and financial services industry executives in support of education savings programs. For more information on CSF and its mission, please access 2 C o l l e g e Sa v i n g s Fo u n d a t i o n

3 Taking Responsibility: 75% of students say it s their responsibility to fund higher education Q. Do you think that it is your responsibility to fund part or all of your higher education? 75% 25% Savings: Students are willing to save and sacrifice for college Q. Have you planned on using your own funds to pay for part or all of your college or higher education costs? Definitely 22% 41% 63% said definitely yes or I don t know 25% 11% Definitely Of the 63% of students planning on using their own funds: Q. What percent of your total education costs are you planning on using your own funds for? Less than 25% 48% 40% 25% - 50% 12% Greater than 50% Q. Have you decided that you want to save money for college or post-secondary 36% 34% 70% said definitely yes or 22% 7% I don t know Definitely 2010 Su r v e y o f Yo u t h 3

4 Q. Have you begun saving for college or post-secondary 45% 55% Of those who have begun saving: Less than $1,000 Q. How much have you saved? 35% 43% $1,000 - $5,000 (3%) 19% Greater than $5,000 Of those who have begun saving: Q. Have you foregone things (i.e. electronics, car, vacation) in order to save for college? 54% 46% Q. Would you rather receive money for education on special occasions rather than tangible gifts? Definitely 32% 40% 72% said definitely yes or 20% 9% Definitely Q. Have you researched various ways to save money (i.e. personal savings, 529s)? 30% 70% 4 C o l l e g e Sa v i n g s Fo u n d a t i o n

5 loans: Students expect to take on debt but need to do more homework Q. Do you plan on borrowing money to attend college/post-secondary 66% said definitely yes or 22% 44% 21% 14% Definitely I don t know Of the 66% who are borrowing or may borrow: Q. Are you concerned with the debt burden you may be faced with after college or higher education? 60% 31% 6% Definitely no (3%) Of the 66% who are borrowing or may borrow: Q. What % of your total education costs do you plan on borrowing? Less than 25% 30% 40% 30% 25% - 50% Greater than 50% Of the 66% who are borrowing or may borrow: Q. Have you projected the total amount you will have borrow in order to graduate? 20% 80% Q. Have you researched any type of student loans? 32% 68% 2010 Su r v e y o f Yo u t h 5

6 Aid or Scholarships: Students are proactive in research and applications Q. Do you plan on/or are you receiving a scholarship to attend college/postsecondary 69% said definitely yes or 26% 43% 23% 8% Definitely no I don t know Q. Have you researched any type of scholarships (i.e. merit-based, from the school, from outside sources)? 47% 53% Q. Do you plan on receiving financial aid to attend college/postsecondary 85% said definitely yes or 48% 37% 12% Definitely no (3%) Q. Have you researched any type of financial aid? 47% 53% 6 C o l l e g e Sa v i n g s Fo u n d a t i o n

7 Making Choices in a Difficult Financial Environment Q. Have the costs of school influenced your further education plans? 77% said definitely yes or 30% 23% 47% Definitely no Of the 77% who said definitely yes or possibly: 38% Q. Have costs been a factor in deciding whether or not to attend college? 65% said definitely yes or 27% 7% Definitely no Of the 77% who said definitely yes or possibly: Q. Have costs been a factor in deciding which college to attend? 86% said definitely yes or 55% 31% 9% 5% Definitely no Talking to Their Parents Q. Have you talked to your parents about how much college costs? 70% 30% Q. Have you talked to your parents about their involvement in funding your college education? 65% 35% 2010 Su r v e y o f Yo u t h 7

8 Of the 65% who have talked about their parents involvement in funding their college education: Q. Are your parents saving for you to attend college? 63% 20% Of the 63% who are saving: Q. How much have they saved? 38% of students don t know. $5,001 - $15,000 Less than $5,000 15% $15,001 - $30,000 14% Greater than $30,000 16% 38% Q. Have you talked to your relatives (i.e. grandparents, aunts, uncles) about college costs? 23% 77% Q. Have your college savings been affected by the current market conditions? 26% Definitely 55% said definitely yes or 29% Q. Has college funding created anxiety in your household? 51% 21% 8 C o l l e g e Sa v i n g s Fo u n d a t i o n

9 About the High School Students Q. What are your future education plans? Private College ne (5%) Other (4%) Vocational College (5%) 18% 22% 44% Public College Community College Q. What is your Grade Point Average? (2%) (7%) 31% 29% 19% 41% Q. What is the size of your High School graduating class? Less than % 7% 29% 13% 15% 23% Greater than Q. How many sibilngs do you have in or within one year of college or career none 56% 3 (1%) 2 8% 29% 35% 1 29% 2010 Su r v e y o f Yo u t h 9

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