STUDENT DEBT MYTHS AND FACTS Third Edition. August 2016

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1 STUDENT DEBT MYTHS AND FACTS Third Edition August 2016

2 The Issue With student loan debt reaching approximately $1.3 trillion, critics are concerned that student loans may be the next financial bubble to burst. They cite students with loans of more than $100,000 and ballooning loan default rates. They contend that borrowing for higher education may not be worth the financial risks, especially for students who attend private institutions. Some even argue that students should not incur debt to attend college. What is the truth? This presentation examines a number of myths about college students indebtedness and sets the facts straight with the most recent data available.

3 MYTH Many students owe more than $100,000 when they graduate. FACT In 2014, only 4 percent of all borrowers owed $100,000 or more in student debt.1 The average debt level of bachelor s degree recipients at private colleges and universities is $19,3002 less than the price of a modest automobile and the same level as in Meanwhile, debt at public institutions continues to rise. 1. A. Haughwout, D. Lee, J. Scally, and W. van der Klaauw Student Loan Borrowing and Repayment Trends, Federal Reserve Bank of New York. 2. The College Board, Trends in Student Aid 2015.

4 Average Total Student Loan Debt per Bachelor s Degree Recipient $25,000 $20,000 $19,300 $17,900 $19,100 $19,800 $20,000 $19,700 $19,900 $19,300 $15,000 $12,000 $11,700 $12,400 $13,400 $13,900 $14,800 $15,000 $15,200 $10,000 $5,000 $ Public 4-Year Private 4-Year Source: The College Board, Trends in Student Aid All totals are expressed in 2014 dollars.

5 MYTH High levels of student debt make private colleges unaffordable. FACT One quarter of students who graduated with a bachelor s degree from a four-year private college or university did not have any educational debt. For those with debt, the difference between the average debt levels for graduates of public versus private institutions is only $4,100.

6 Distribution of Total Undergraduate Debt No Debt 12% 26% 37% Less than $10,000 6% 9% 13% $10,000 to $19,999 11% 14% 13% $20,000 to $29,999 16% 20% 19% $30,000 to $39,999 9% 13% 16% $40,000 or more 10% 20% 35% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% Public 4-Year Private 4-Year For-Profit 4-Year Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, (NPSAS:12). Analysis by the Council of Independent Colleges.

7 MYTH FACT The problem with high levels of debt is even worse because students don t pay back their loans. Students at private colleges are less likely to default on their student loans than those who attend for-profit and public institutions. In the most recent year, only 6 percent of private college students defaulted on their loans, less than half the rate of students at for-profit institutions.

8 25% Three-Year Student Loan Cohort Default Rates 22% 20% 19% 15% 15% 10% 9% 9% 8% 7% 8% 6% 5% 0% Fiscal Year 2010 Fiscal Year 2011 Fiscal Year 2012 Public 4-Year Private 4-Year For-Profit 4-Year Source: U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid, Default Management, Three-Year Official Cohort Default Rates for Schools, Note: Official cohort default rates calculated August 8, Analysis by the Council of Independent Colleges.

9 MYTH Only wealthy families can afford to send their children to private colleges. FACT Private colleges enroll students of all financial backgrounds. In fact, private nondoctoral colleges enroll a larger proportion of lowincome students than do public institutions.

10 100% Student Enrollment by Family Income Level at Four- Year Institutions in % 80% 26% 17% 25% 26% 70% 22% 60% 22% 23% 26% 50% 40% 30% 24% 26% 25% 22% 20% 10% 24% 33% 27% 26% 0% Private Doctoral Private Nondoctoral Public Doctoral Public Nondoctoral Less than $40,000 $40,000 $79,000 $80,000 $119,000 $120,000 or more Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS), Tabulation prepared by the Pell Institute and PennAHEAD, 2015 Revised Edition, for Indicators of Higher Education Equity in the United States: 45 Year Trend Report. Note: Totals may not equal 100 percent due to rounding.

11 MYTH It is very difficult to receive financial aid at private colleges. FACT A larger proportion of students at private colleges receive financial aid than do students at public institutions. Students enrolled at private colleges are almost twice as likely to receive grants from their college as are students enrolled at public institutions.

12 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% Percentage of Undergraduates Receiving Financial Aid 90% 89% 83% 82% 72% 61% 50% 45% 38% 34% 33% 78% 20% 10% 0% Any Financial Aid Institutional Grants Federal Grants Student Loans Public 4-Year Private 4-Year For-Profit 4-Year Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics Note: Percentages for first-time, full-time undergraduates during academic year Any Financial Aid category includes aid listed as well as state and local grants.

13 MYTH Students at public institutions receive more financial aid than do students at private colleges and universities. FACT Students receive more financial aid at private colleges. They receive over three times ($17,088 versus $5,476) the amount of institutional aid as do students at public institutions and over five times ($17,088 versus $3,104) as much as students at for-profit institutions. Private colleges give students nearly six times as much institutional grant aid as does the federal government.

14 Average Amount of Financial Aid $40,000 $35,000 $33,795 $30,000 $25,000 $20,000 $20,558 $19,459 $17,088 $15,000 $10,000 $5,000 $5,476 $3,104 $4,629 $4,788 $4,661 $8,069 $6,701 $8,648 $0 Total Financial Aid Institutional Grants Federal Grants Student Loans Public 4-Year Private 4-Year For-Profit 4-Year Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics Notes: Percentages are for first-time, full-time undergraduates in aid programs during academic year Total Financial Aid category includes aid listed as well as state and local grants. Analysis by the Council of Independent Colleges.

15 Grant Aid in Billions $35.0 Private Colleges Give Students Nearly Six Times as Much Institutional Grant Aid as Does the Federal Government $30.0 $29.7 $25.0 $20.0 $17.7 $15.0 $10.0 $10.1 $5.0 $0.0 $2.1 $3.0 $1.3 $ Academic Year State Federal Institutional Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, finance component, various years. Note: Data represents grant aid awarded to students at Title IV, degree-granting, U.S. private nonprofit, four-year institutions. Analysis by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, Private Colleges: FactFile. $5.2 $1.6

16 MYTH All students enrolled at private colleges pay the same high tuition (irrespective of family income). FACT On average, the actual amount students pay at private colleges is less than 60 percent of the total cost of tuition. Students with lower family incomes pay a much lower percentage of the total costs.

17 100% 90% 80% Average Net Price as a Percentage of the Total Costs by Family Income 80% 78% 79% 86% 86% 93% 94% 92% 70% 65% 70% 68% 60% 50% 56% 48% 48% 54% 46% 51% 58% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% All Income Levels $0 $30,000 $30,001 $48,000 $48,001 $75,000 $75,001 $110,000 $110,001 or more Public 4-Year Private 4-Year For-Profit 4-Year Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Student Financial Aid, Academic Year ; constant dollars are represented. Note: Aid consists of federal Title IV grants and other federal state, local, or institutional sources. Analysis by the Council of Independent Colleges.

18 Other Factors to Consider Over the past decade, tuition and fees at public institutions have increased twice as fast as at private colleges. The graduation rates at private colleges are higher than those at public and for-profit institutions, even for low-income students. Students at private colleges graduate much sooner (about ten months earlier) than do their peers at public institutions and 48 months earlier than students at for-profit institutions which means fewer years of paying tuition and a quicker start at earning a salary.

19 Inflation-Adjusted Published Tuition and Fees Relative to Change in Inflation-Adjusted Published Tuition and Fees to Private Nonprofit 4-Year Public 4-Year Public 2-Year Source: The College Board, Trends in College Pricing Note: Values for published tuition and fees by sector, adjusted for inflation, as a percentage of published prices.

20 70% 60% 50% Four-Year, Five-Year, and Six-Year Graduation Rates by Institutional Type 53% 52% 63% 58% 65% 40% 30% 34% 23% 28% 32% 20% 10% 0% 4-Year Graduation Rate 5-Year Graduation Rate 6-Year Graduation Rate Public 4-Year Private 4-Year For-Profit 4-Year Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics Note: Percentages are for entering cohort of 2007.

21 70% Six-Year Bachelor s Degree Completion Rates for Students Who Receive Pell Grants 60% 58% 50% 51% 48% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% All Institutions Public 4-Year Private 4-Year Source: The Education Trust, The Pell Partnership: Ensuring a Shared Responsibility for Low-Income Student Success, September Note: Calculations are based on students who graduated in 2013.

22 Time to Degree by Institutional Type 70% 65% 60% 59% 50% 40% 38% Median Time to Degree Public 4-Year: 55 months Private 4-Year: 45 months For-Profit 4-Year: 103 months 30% 28% 20% 10% 18% 15% 9% 12% 5% 8% 22% 21% 0% 48 months or less months months 73 months or more Public 4-Year Private 4-Year For-Profit 4-Year Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study (B&B:08/09): First Look. Notes: Percentages are for first-time bachelor s degree recipients; time to degree is calculated by number of months from enrollment in postsecondary education to degree attainment for first-time bachelor s degree recipients.

23 For additional information about these facts and others that describe the quality and affordability of independent colleges, please see: For questions, please contact: Laura Wilcox, Vice President for Communications (202)

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