A majority of college students are handling their finances responsibly, according to the results of a survey conducted last December by Sallie Mae, the student loan company, and Ipsos, a market research firm. Among the 800 traditional-aged college students (between 18 and 24) who responded, 77 percent reported paying their bills on time. More than half (55 percent) set aside savings every month. And 60 percent said they never spend more money than they have, while 65 percent said they have a paying job.
The newly released report also looked at how students make payments. Debit cards were the top choice. But 56 percent of respondents have credit cards.
"Today’s college students demonstrate a careful approach to managing money," the report said. "Students have a cautious attitude toward debt, with the majority saying they never spend more than they have, and the majority agreeing that credit cards can contribute to impulse buying and debt accumulation."
A new study of the gaps in student loan debt between black and white young adults both confirms reports of the gap and provides new details. The study, published in the journal Race and Social Problems, finds that black young adults have 68.2 percent more student loan debt, on average, than do white young adults. The research speculates that much of this gap is based on the greater wealth, on average, of white families. But the study also points to differences in the way white and black wealthy families are different in the support they provide to their children to minimize college debt. Among white families, students from wealthier backgrounds borrow less. But this is not true for black families, the study found. The research speculates that black families of means may not have as much wealth in liquid assets.
The study's co-authors are Fenaba R. Addo, assistant professor of consumer science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Jason N. Houle, assistant professor of sociology at Dartmouth College and Daniel Simon, a graduate student of sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Officials at Zenith Education Group are hoping a new financial aid process that provides pre-enrollment financial literacy counseling will help students make better-informed decisions at the nonprofit Everest and WyoTech campuses.
The new financial aid process was piloted at seven campuses this fall. It involves a three-step process that connects students with financial aid planners and encourages them to complete the federal financial aid application, research income expectations and create a budget. This "breathing period" is expected to help students consider how they will finance their educations and whether or not student loans are in their best interests.
"Our approach to financial aid is emblematic of the cultural shift Zenith has been making to prioritize student success over enrollment numbers since acquiring these campuses," said Dave Hawn, president and chief executive officer of Educational Credit Management Corporation Group and interim president and CEO of Zenith Education Group, in a news release.
HCM Strategists, a public policy and advocacy firm, this week announced it will award $1 million in short-term grants aimed at helping nonprofit organizations and higher education systems develop advocacy strategies for changes in federal financial aid policy. The grant program, which is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will focus on FAFSA, loan repayment, institutional and student accountability, tax-benefit simplification, and state and federal partnerships. The group said it hopes to encourage new voices and partnerships on aid policy, including civil rights organizations, businesses and unions.
Minnesota State University at Moorhead has announced an unusual scholarship program. Four $2,500 scholarships and two $1,000 scholarships will be awarded (on top of other aid for which students are eligible) based on tweets. Students must share on Twitter why they want to enroll at the university, using the hashtag #BeADragon. Details are here.