Ascent Funding’s 2019 National Study Perceptions & Realities of Paying for College

Ascent Funding’s 2019 national study of students and parents explores their perceptions before starting college and the impact of reality once the college experience begins.

Perceptions and Realities of Paying for College is the second annual Ascent Funding national study on Americans’ behavior and sentiment on paying for college. This year our study digs in deeper on the challenges of financing a college education through two independent surveys: 1) high school seniors and parents of high school seniors; 2) college students age 18-26 years old and parents of college students who have taken out student loans.

 

It’s extremely interesting to compare the perspective of high school seniors headed to college and parents of this group against the perspective of current college students and their parents who are further along in the college financing process. The level of first-hand experience with paying for college between these groups shines a light on how perspectives differ and change over time, however it is clear across the board that both incoming and current college students and parents of these groups lack confidence in their ability to repay money borrowed for a college education.

 

Key findings from the 2019 Ascent Study include:

  1. High school seniors feel empowered to be the decision makers regarding their future education – in fact, 90% state they are moderately to extremely knowledgeable about all the financing options for college – but many do not plan to take advantage of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) or other scholarships.
  2. Both high school seniors and current college students believe they should be responsible for the majority of the cost of their education – 72% of high school seniors and the same amount of college students believe 50 – 100% of the cost should be their responsibility.
  3. College students are struggling financially to make ends meet – 24% college students have experienced late loan disbursement from their college during the past year and among this group 51% went without food to help make up the difference.
  4. With low confidence in the ability to pay back money borrowed for college, students and parents are ready for new options to pay for college – 54% of college students and 79% of parents of college students would consider non-cosigned loan options.

 

Raw data is available for the high school and college surveys and provides full details on the respondents, questions and findings broken out by student and parent groups. The individual studies also address additional themes including considerations in selecting a college, approaching college with a transactional or transformational mindset, and perceptions of credit card use among college students.

View Full High School Survey                                          View Full College Survey

If you are a member of the media and interested in speaking with Ascent about the financial challenges faced by college students and parents, or tips for making the best decisions regarding college selection and financing options, please contact [email protected].

 

About the Study

College Survey Methodology

Allison+Partners Research + Insights surveyed 1,099 individuals, a mix of college students (18-26 years old) and parents of college students who have taken out student loans and all residing within the United States. The survey was fielded using the Qualtrics Insight Platform, and panel was sourced from Lucid. Fielding was executed in March 2019.

 

High School Survey Methodology

Allison+Partners Research + Insights surveyed 1,015 individuals, a mix of high school students expected to graduate in 2019 and parents of high school students expected to graduate in 2019, all residing within the United States. The survey was fielded using the Qualtrics Insight Platform, and panel was sourced from Fulcrum by Lucid. Fielding was executed in March 2019.

If you are a member of the media and interested in speaking with Ascent about the financial challenges faced by college students and parents, or tips for making the best decisions regarding college selection and financing options, please contact [email protected].

 

About Ascent Funding

Ascent is built around one guiding principle: Student loans should expand possibilities, not limit them. That’s why Ascent created a new private student loan model that gives students more opportunities to qualify for a loan, with or without a cosigner, to get the funding needed to cover tuition and living expenses. For eligible juniors, seniors and graduate students without a cosigner, Ascent utilizes broader credit tiers and considers creditworthiness, school, program, graduation date, major, cost of attendance and other factors. Ascent encourages transparency and financial wellness by incorporating financial literacy into the application process, preserving the notion that an education is an investment where students and families should understand the return on their investment relative to the cost. Ascent also offers benefits and resources that set students and families up for financial success.

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