The data and analytics firm Experian has released a national survey of college students graduating this year.
The survey found that 69 percent of graduates will have student loan debt when they leave school, and that 71 percent said they did not learn about credit and debt management in school.
“Credit is a skill — one that can be developed through the right education,” said Rod Griffin, director of public education at Experian, in a release.
“Learning how to properly manage debt and finances will be key to these young adults’ future financial success,” he said. “Because students aren’t receiving credit and debt management education in college, they need to be proactive in educating themselves regarding the basics of credit and how it can impact future life goals.”
Among other data in the report:
▪ The average student loan debt for 2016 graduates is $22,813.
▪ 30 percent of respondents also reported credit card debt averaging $2,573.
▪ Student loan debt was the leading concern (55 percent) among those graduates who “feel insecure” about their postgraduate financial status.
▪ 66 percent of graduates were concerned that they might not be able to repay their student loan debt.
▪ 31 percent of graduates said they have already reached the maximum limit on a credit card balance.
▪ 39 percent accept credit card terms and conditions without reading the fine print, while 46 percent “only skim” the terms and conditions.
▪ 84 percent of graduates do not yet have a job.
▪ 73 percent said they were concerned that they might not be able to earn enough to live comfortably.
▪ 47 percent of graduates know their credit score.
▪ 40 percent rate their current financial security at “poor or fair.’
▪ 57 percent overall (and 66 percent of arts and humanities graduates) said they wish they had taken on less student loan debt.
▪ 53 percent of STEM graduates (science, technology, engineering, math) are “comfortable” with their level of student loan debt.
▪ 53 percent believe “the odds are stacked against me” financially.
▪ 70 percent rely on their parents for financial information; 45 percent use the Internet.
▪ 36 percent said they wish they had been able to take a course on credit and debt management.
▪ 46 percent have never seen their credit score or credit report.
▪ 61 percent perceived their credit status as exceptional, very good or good.
▪ 23 percent were overwhelmed; 44 percent were hopeful.
▪ 48 percent are nervous about life after graduation; 33 percent are confident; and 59 percent are excited.
C.R. Roberts: 253-597-8535