A new Student Lending Survey by Citizens Bank suggests that graduates regret not doing more thinking towards the future as it pertains to student loans. Of those surveyed, 74% with student loan debt “wish they had done more to minimize the burden of their student loans.”
The main cause of the issue is a lack of communication between student and their parents about the consequences of student loan debt. More than half (53%) of millennials in the survey said that discussing the financials of a college education with their parents earlier would have helped them incur less student loan debt. Many (63%) avoid discussing college costs with their parents because they think their parents “don’t have a full grasp” on today’s college costs and benefits.
What would you have done differently?
We can’t go back in time. But we can learn from others’ mistakes. Respondents were asked what advice they would give to their younger selves. Here’s what they said:
- Prioritize paying off student loans as soon as possible (43%)
- Spend time to fully understand student loan options (41%)
- Have more conversations on educational financing with experts (33%)
- Attend a less expensive college (29%)
- Refinance student loans to get a lower interest rate (26%)
What to do now?
For parents, talk to your children. Make sure they fully understand the financial burdens of student loan debt and make sure they weigh this against their added income potential with a degree from different schools. It might feel right to support them to enroll at the best or most prestigious university at which they were accepted, but lay out the pros and cons for all options. A less expensive school or community college may ultimately make more financial sense.
For accepted students, talk to your parents. At 18, it can be hard to look 15 or 20 years into the future and think about buying a home a home or starting a family. In many cases, student loans are impacting graduates’ ability to achieve these life milestones.
For graduates, look for ways now to get help paying off your loans. One great way is to look for employers that are offering student loan repayment as an employee benefit. This perk can help you save thousands on accruing interest and get out of debt years faster.