At iontuition™, we work with many schools that are trying to improve their students’ financial knowledge by creating innovative financial literacy programs. Despite the increasing interest in financial literacy, many schools still don’t feel like their programs are up to snuff and some haven’t started a financial literacy program yet. To better understand the current state of financial literacy and to help financial aid professionals benchmark their programs against peers, we decided to create a survey. If you are a financial aid professional, we would appreciate you taking it. It will take less than ten minutes.
Why is financial literacy near and dear to our hearts?
According to the 2015 National Student Financial Wellness Study by one of our clients, The Ohio State University, only 30.6% of students took part in any financial education in high school. Given the investment students are making in receiving a higher education degree, many feel that higher education institutions have an obligation to step up and help their students understand their finances. More than 40 million Americans have student loans with an average balance of $35,000. Yet students often do not have the financial knowledge or the tools they need to successfully manage their loans and personal finances after graduation.
Our own survey found that many student loan borrowers aren’t much better educated about financial literacy as it relates to their student loans. Nearly three-quarters of respondents (73%), didn’t know how to find out if they qualify for lower payments on their student loans. Almost half didn’t know who their student loan servicers are or what the interest rate on their loans is.
A lack of knowledge about the personal finance and student loans can also mean students risk delinquency and default. In some cases, stress about money and a lack of knowledge on how to deal with it can push people to leave college before graduation. All of these factors have an impact on your school, from increasing CDRs to decreased chances of alumni giving.
Update: The survey is closed and the report is out!
Thanks to the participation of more than 100 respondents from more than 50 schools across the country, we were able to get the data we needed and produce a report on the current trends! Download the 2016 Financial Literacy Trends on Campus Report for insights on financial literacy and how it affects student loan repayment.