Survey finds 80% of parents didn’t know the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will not be available until December
(Wilmington, DE) October 30, 2023 — Fall marks the start of the college admissions journey for high school seniors and their parents. With application forms to fill out, essays to write and potential tests to take, the road to college can be a roller coaster of emotions. According to a recent College Ave Student Loans survey of 1,027 parents of college students, conducted by Barnes & Noble College Insights, 60% of parents agreed that figuring out how to pay for college caused them the most stress. More enjoyable “road to college” activities were creating a college list and helping their child with their essays (only 26% and 28%, respectively, of parents found the activities stressful). Overall, the survey highlights that families are committed to their child’s higher education – 92% believe a college degree is crucial for their teen’s future, an increase of 11% over 2022.
“We know there is a lot that has to happen to get to the first day of college,” said Joe DePaulo, Co-Founder and CEO, College Ave Student Loans. “Our survey highlights some of the unknowns and surprises along the college admissions journey that can hopefully help high school seniors and their families make an easier transition to life’s next big stage.”
To help families with rising college freshmen prepare and get organized for the upcoming school year, the College Ave survey offers the following insights:
- Plan for the “pre-college” spend. The survey found families spent $2,891 on average on pre-college costs, and this is before stepping foot on campus as a college freshman! Exams, college visits and application fees can add up. Look for ways to reduce expenses, including combining multiple college visits into one trip, taking advantage of college test courses through a school organization and application fee waivers.
- Be aware of FAFSA changes. 80 percent of parents were unaware that the FAFSA would not be available until December this year, a change from its typical October release. The FAFSA is a crucial form for families to fill out as it is the gateway to $112 billion in grants, work-study and loans offered by the U.S. Department of Education. In addition, some states and colleges use this form to help determine aid. Make sure to add this form to your college to-do list.
- Organize your college list and deadlines. On average, families report applying to five schools. However, nearly 4 out of 10 (39%) applied to 6 schools or more. With multiple applications, there are multiple deadlines, forms and applications. Make sure to create an organizational system to help you remember important due dates.
- When making a college list, don’t forget cost. Academic majors, campus environment and location ranked as the top three factors families used when making a college decision. Toward the bottom of the list was overall cost of college, according to 30 percent of families. More than half (56%) of families report college costs are more than they anticipated. By including cost as part of the upfront consideration process, families can hopefully mitigate surprises down the road.
- Create a budget. Know how much your family can afford to contribute to college costs, and make sure to include schools that fit into that range on your list. Almost 1 in 3 (29%) report that their child went to a college outside of their budget range. And, of those families – 50 percent said the cost was anywhere from $10,000 to just under $40,000 outside of their original budget.
For college-bound families who are preparing for the upcoming school year, planning for and financing higher education will require lots of planning, discussion, prioritization and budgeting. For more resources and tips on how to plan and pay for college, visit: collegeavestudentloans.com/blog.
About College Ave Student Loans
College Ave Student Loans started with a big vision and a simple mission – take the stress out of paying for college so students can focus on preparing for a bright future. Now a leading fintech lending company, College Ave remains committed to using best-in-class technology and deep industry expertise to deliver practical and personal solutions that give young adults a running start on their roads to financial success. We offer best-in-class products with competitive rates and a customer-friendly experience from start to finish. Visit: www.collegeavestudentloans.com.
About the Survey
The College Ave Student Loans survey was conducted by Barnes & Noble College InsightsTM. The national online survey of undergraduate students who attend a 4-year college or university at one of the campuses served by Barnes & Noble College had 1,027 respondents and was fielded in September 2023. Last year, Barnes & Noble College Insights conducted more than 50 research studies and 100+ survey polls of students, faculty and parents that interact with one of its more than 770+ campus bookstores across the nation.