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Families Believe in the Value of College, Lack Understanding About Funding

Stockhouse Editorial
1 Comment| February 14, 2022

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(Chart via Sallie Mae. Click to enlarge.)

A national study released on Monday from Sallie Mae (Nasdaq: SLM, Forum) and Ipsos reported that eight in 10 college-bound juniors and seniors (81%) view higher education as a path to better opportunities, yet fewer than half (42%) of families feel confident about financing that education.

The study, titled “College Confidence: What America Knows About Paying for College” also found that 42% of college-bound families agree they need help planning to pay for college, and 43% believe there are too few resources to help pay for higher education.

Research Director with Ipsos, Jennifer Berg explained that students and families continue to agree college is a worthwhile investment, even though through this research portfolio it appears that just 11% of college-bound families feel very knowledgeable about the different ways to pay for college, and many aren’t aware of the different funding sources available to them.

“The lack of understanding is even greater for first-generation families — just 35% feel confident about paying for college. This all speaks to a broader recommendation that college financing topics should be introduced in high school or earlier to provide families with tools, knowledge, and confidence to meet the cost of higher education.”

From the report, by the numbers:

Nearly three-quarters of families (74%) have started thinking about how they will cover the cost of higher education by the time their child is a high school junior, fewer than half of college-bound families (44%) are very or somewhat familiar with the FAFSA – the gateway to billions of dollars in scholarships, grants, and federal financial aid.

  • 62% of families plan to complete the FAFSA
  • 29% feeling it’s a waste of time if the family makes too much money
  • 45% believe scholarships are only available for students with exceptional grades or abilities
  • 54% are familiar with financial aid offers from colleges and universities, 37% of them don’t know what information is included in these offers

47% of college-bound families are planning to borrow to pay for college, but many are unclear on what types of aid needs to be paid back. Less than half of college-bound families correctly identified direct subsidized loans (47%), direct unsubsidized loans (46%), and the Parent PLUS loans (41%) as money that needs to be repaid.



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