Did you know that students worry as much about their grades as they do about college costs and affordability? Thousands of students take out student loans every year to help cover education costs. In fact, nearly 35% of adults under 30 have student loan debt. From federal and private loans to scholarships and work-study, there are a number of funding options available to help families pay for college.
Let’s take a closer look at key student loan statistics and how undergrads, grads, and parents are covering the cost of college.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Statistics1
- 17,866,369 FAFSA applications were completed for the 2021-2022 school year
- 24% of FAFSA applicants were first-year students who never attended college before
- 41% of applicants were over the age of 25
- Less than 1 hour to complete and submit a new application
Average Cost of College 2021-20222
- Private (Nonprofit): $38,070 Tuition & Fees
- Public (Out-of-State, 4-year): $27,560 Tuition & Fees
- Public (In-State, 4-year): $10,740 Tuition & Fees
- Public (In-District, 2-year): $3,800 Tuition & Fees
While nearly all students expect to have loans after they graduate, many are surprised at the actual amount they end up taking out. A 2022 College Ave survey conducted by Barnes & Noble College InsightsTM revealed that 71% of students said the cost of attendance alone was a deciding factor. However, most still didn’t look at the average amount of student loans before they committed to the school they decided to attend. To prepare yourself for managing your student loans, make sure you work with your lender to understand what you’ll be responsible for each month.
- 68% of students agree that paying for college is stressful
- 77% of students with loans expect to have student loan debt when they graduate
- 56% of students said they don’t know what their monthly payment will be
- 78% understand that when they repay loans, they will pay back more than they borrowed
- 57% of students said they fully intend to pay back their student loans themselves
College costs are on the rise, and students might be caught off guard by the price tag. Most undergrads find that costs are higher than they expected and end up having to find more funding or pick up extra work to cover it. Need some ideas? Here are 10 Good Ways to Save Money in College.
Average Cost of Additional College Expenses2
- Room & Board: $11,950 (Public, 4-year, in-state)
- Books & Supplies: $1,240
- Travel & Other Expenses: $3,400
- Total: $16,590
It’s easy to overlook some college expenses. Applicants get so tied up in tuition numbers that they forget to factor in the cost of textbooks or transportation. Keep a running list of your expected expenses and include that in your forecasted budget.
Who Pays for Student Loans?3
- 57% of students plan to pay back their loans on their own
- 29% of students expect their parents to help pay back loans a little
- 6% of students will split the bill with their parents
- 8% of students expect their parents to pay most or all of their loans
Anyone paying for college can agree that it can become stressful. Whether you’re a student paying back student loans or a parent making payments after graduation, it’s a huge responsibility and commitment. More than half of the students from the College Ave survey are repaying loans on their own. If you’re just getting started, check out these tips on managing your student loans and preparing for the end of your grace period.
Taking Advantage of the Findings
The biggest takeaway? In addition to prioritizing the FAFSA, research more scholarships before going off to school. It’s a lot of work up front, but it can save you money and reduce your total costs in the long run. Learn from these findings, from other students, and speak with your financial aid office to discover what options will work best for you.
It’s important to become familiar with the different costs and implications before signing on the dotted line. For more information on managing the cost of college, start with the basics of student loans or get some techniques for talking about college costs with your family.
 The College Ave Student Loans survey was conducted by Barnes & Noble College InsightsTM. The national online survey had 1,111 undergraduate student respondents who attend one of the 770+ campuses served by Barnes & Noble College and was fielded in March 2022.