College Ave Student Loans Survey Finds College-Bound Students are Cost-Conscious About School Choice

College Ave Student Loans Survey Finds College-Bound Students are Cost-Conscious About School Choice
Financial aid award letters arrive soon; many struggle to understand student loans

(WILMINGTON, DE) March 15, 2018

Spring is nearly here, which means financial aid award letters are arriving in the mailboxes of college-bound students. For the majority of families (89 percent), understanding the offer – including differentiating between free aid and loans that need to be paid back – is the easy part. However, the difficulty comes in decoding the details behind each line item. For example, less than one-third (29 percent) feel confident with the financial terms associated with student loans, according to a recent national survey of 1,075 undergraduate students from College Ave Student Loans by Barnes & Noble College InsightsSM.

Other award letter insights from the College Ave Student Loans survey:

  • Only half (52 percent) filled out the FAFSA for the 2018-19 school year.”Every student should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as it becomes available in the fall,” said Joe DePaulo, CEO and Co-Founder of College Ave Student Loans. “Many factors, not just household income, go into determining the amount of aid students will receive and what type of aid they are eligible for. Some aid is first-come, first-served, and some schools won’t consider you for any aid – even merit aid – until your FAFSA is completed. Don’t skip this critical first step.”
  • Three-quarters (75 percent) of undergraduate students received merit aid, which is money that does not need to be paid back, for their first year of college.
    • About half (55 percent), said their merit aid was as high as $10,000.
    • Over the course of their college career to date, merit aid increased for 19 percent, decreased for 26 percent, and stayed the same for 41 percent of the undergraduate students surveyed.
  • Even with the merit aid offered, only one-fourth (26 percent) of undergraduate students asked their financial aid office for more aid after receiving their award letter while one-third (37 percent) of respondents wish they had asked for more aid from the financial aid office.
  • After receiving their award letter, 83 percent wished they had researched more scholarships.
  • Student loan debt factors into school choice. Seven out of ten said the amount of debt they would have when they graduated affected their school choice. Two-thirds (66 percent) said they would choose a less prestigious school to graduate with no debt.

“As our survey points out, college is an investment, so cost plays a big role in the selection process,” said DePaulo. “Families are also weighing the academic reputation of the school, if course selection will meet career goals, the social atmosphere and more. If the financial aid award package from your overall ‘best fit’ school does not cover all the costs, a private student loan, such as the ones offered by College Ave Student Loans, is one option to help bridge the gap. Make sure you’re considering the total cost of each loan option and look for a provider with flexible repayment options that can help you match your monthly payments to your budget.”

About the Survey

The College Ave Student Loans survey was conducted by Barnes & Noble College InsightsSM, a research platform operated by Barnes & Noble College. Barnes & Noble College InsightsSM taps into proprietary panels of students, parents and alumni nationwide to deliver critical insights about student habits and needs, purchasing behavior, media consumption, brand loyalty and more. The College Ave Student Loans national survey had 1,075 undergraduate student respondents and was conducted February 20 – February 22, 2018.

About College Ave Student Loans

College Ave Student Loans is simplifying the student loan experience so students can get on with what matters most: preparing for a bright future. As a fintech lending company with a sole focus on private student loans, we’re using technology and our deep industry expertise to connect families who need to cover education costs with lenders who can provide that funding. By specializing in student loans, we are able to give our customers the attention they deserve and deliver loans that are simple, clear, and personalized for the individual: we help you find your perfect fit. We offer competitive rates, a wide range of repayment options, and a customer-friendly experience from application through repayment. Visit:

About Barnes & Noble College

Barnes & Noble College, a Barnes & Noble Education company (NYSE:BNED), is a leading operator of college bookstores in the United States. Barnes & Noble College currently operates 782 campus bookstores and the school-branded e-commerce sites for each store, serving more than 5 million college students and faculty nationwide. General information on Barnes & Noble College can be obtained by visiting the Company’s website:

Media Contacts:
College Ave Student Loans
Katherine Jacobs, 302-684-6066
[email protected]
Duffy & Shanley, Inc.
Emily Hollenbeck, 401-278-4432
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