New Survey Highlights Students’ Financial Contributions to Their College Education

National College Decision Day is May 1

(Wilmington, DE) April 27, 2021 – National College Decision Day is May 1, 2021, the date millions of soon-to-be college freshmen will make the important decision on where to attend school. With deposits sent in with signed letters of intent, it also signals the start of college payments. For many families, the plan of how to pay for college is clear: nearly 7 out of 10 (68%) students said they knew how they would fund their college education before committing to their school, according to a new survey of 1,001 undergraduate students from College Ave Student Loans conducted by Barnes & Noble College InsightsTM.

The majority of students (78%) said parents involved them in the discussion on how to pay for college. As the survey found, many college funding scenarios involve financial contribution and commitment from the student. Of the top five ways families report on how to pay for college, four require the student’s financial involvement: scholarships and grants (59%), student’s savings and/or income (43%), federal student loans (40%) and the work-study program (12%). Parent’s savings and/or income (57%) still ranks as a main method used by the majority of families. Half of students who help pay for their own education contribute up to of $5,000 to their college savings every year, while 13% say that number ranges from $5,000-$10,000.

The survey also sheds light on student borrowing. Around 4 out of 10 (42%) students expect to borrow to help cover college costs. Of those who plan to borrow, 44% expect to borrow anywhere from $10,000-$30,000 in student loans by the time they graduate. Around half (52%) plan to tackle student loan repayment themselves, while 36% expect a little help from their parents. Overall, the majority of students (67%) feel confident they will be able to pay back their student loans, with students motivated to quickly look for a job upon graduation (78%) and land a job where student loan repayment is part of the benefits package (43%).

Though college costs rank as the top concern for students (ahead of grades and mental health), students agree that the ticket price is worth it: 88% said a college degree is necessary for them to be successful in their career.

“Our recent survey highlights the incredible commitment students make to investing in their potential and future,” said Joe DePaulo, CEO and Co-Founder of College Ave Student Loans. “The survey shows the many ways students contribute to their higher education costs and how they are dedicated to obtaining a college degree to help them reach their future goals.”

The survey also looked at what paying-for-college advice college students had for high school seniors. Here are their top tips:

  • Apply for scholarships. The number one advice college students had for high school seniors? Apply for more scholarships, said 83% of respondents. One easy one to consider is the $1,000 monthly scholarship sweepstakes from College Ave.
  • Fill out your financial aid form. Submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This important form is the gateway to scholarships, grants, work-study and federal student loans.
  • Find a job. College can cost more than initially expected said 59% of students. For 67% of respondents, those additional costs ranged from $2,500-$10,000. Having a job can help students build a financial cushion.
  • Understand how interest rates on student loans work. Though the majority of students (87%) know they will pay back more than they borrowed in student loans, only 44% were comfortable with the financial terms associated with student loans. Understand the terms connected to interest rates – fixed vs. variable, credit scores, accrued, subsidized vs unsubsidized – and find out how these can impact the total cost of a loan. The College Ave Student Loans calculator can show you different student loan repayment scenarios and how to save money.
  • Choose an affordable school. 74% of respondents said cost was a key factor on deciding where to attend school. If the numbers are not adding up, don’t be afraid to look at alternatives.
  • Finish your degree in four years. Finishing their degree in four years could save students thousands of dollars, if not tens of thousands of dollars. Stay on track with the credits and courses needed to graduate on time.

For additional helpful content, savings strategies, and insight from college and personal finance experts, visit the College Ave Blog.

About the Survey
The College Ave Student Loans survey was and 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 1,001 respondents and was fielded in March 2021. 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 772 campus bookstores across the nation.

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. By specializing in student loans, we are able to give customers the attention they deserve and deliver loans that are simple, clear, and personalized for the individual.

About Barnes & Noble College
Barnes & Noble College, a Barnes & Noble Education company, is a leading operator of college bookstores in the United States. Barnes & Noble College currently operates 772 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:
Emily Hollenbeck, Duffy & Shanley, Inc., [email protected], (401) 278-4432


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