The Majority of College Students Are Surprised by the Cost of College, Finds College Ave Student Loans Survey

The Majority of College Students Are Surprised by the Cost of College, Finds College Ave Student Loans Survey

Despite nearly three fourths of students reporting that the cost of college played a significant role in deciding where to apply, the majority was surprised by the cost of school

(Wilmington, DE) October 18, 2017

For high school seniors applying to colleges this fall, plan for the education to cost more than you think, suggests a recent survey from College Ave Student Loans by Barnes & Noble College InsightsSM. The national survey of 1,107 undergraduate students finds that more than half (56%) found college to be more expensive than they originally planned, with 1 in 4 finding it to be much more costly. This is despite the fact that the majority of students (73%) said they had weighed the cost of the school before applying, and that it played a significant role in the college decision-making process.

“Applying to colleges can be a stressful, emotional time for high school students and their parents. Understanding the investment and your options to cover the costs can help alleviate some of the uncertainty,” said Joe DePaulo, CEO and Co-Founder of College Ave Student Loans. “At College Ave Student Loans, we want to help families make decisions about paying for school that fit their lives so they can feel confident about the future. Don’t get overwhelmed; just take it one step at a time.”

To help reduce the surprises associated with the costs of college – from the college tour to the first tuition payment – College Ave Student Loans offers a financial roadmap for high school seniors and their parents this fall:

  • FAFSA: Fill it out now to maximize your financial aid package. According to the College Ave survey, 43% would rather eat a bug, 28% would rather not bathe for a month, and 13% would rather flunk a class than figure out how to pay for college. While it’s tempting to avoid it, delaying the process could negatively affect the amount of aid a student will receive.

    As of October 1, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is open for the ’18-’19 academic year. This is one of the most important financial documents for parents of high-school seniors – if your son or daughter is headed to college next fall, you should be filling out the FAFSA now. Some aid is first-come, first-served, and some schools require your FAFSA to be completed before they’ll consider you for any aid – even merit aid – so your best bet is to get the FAFSA completed as early as possible.

  • Applying to college: Know the difference between the ‘sticker’ vs. the ‘net’ price. Two-thirds of students (66%) will apply from one to five colleges, and approximately 1 in 10 (13%) will apply to 10 or more schools, finds the College Ave survey. Academics, followed closely by the cost of the school, are the top two factors in determining where students apply, according to the survey. However, don’t let the ‘sticker’ price of college scare you away from applying. The sticker price isn’t specific to an individual, and it doesn’t factor in any financial aid. The net price is what an individual actually pays after factoring in merit and/or need-based scholarships and grants. A strong financial aid package can make higher cost schools more affordable, and it gives the student a range of options to compare when award letters arrive.

  • Paying for college: begin the frank discussion now. According to the survey, students use a combination of the following to pay for school:

    • 74% scholarships (grants, free aid)
    • 62% parent contributions
    • 55% student (myself) contributions
    • 47% federal loans
    • 13% private student loans
    • 10% federal parent loans

    Involve your child in the college cost discussion now, and be honest about what you can contribute. Have your child research financial aid and scholarships, look at various housing options, and put together a rough budget of what his or her expenses will be in college. Be realistic about the costs and mindful not to take on more than you can afford. A conversation now about the costs of college and who will pay for each part can help eliminate surprises down the road.

About the Survey

The College Ave Student Loans survey was conducted by Barnes & Noble College InsightsSM. The national survey had 1,017 undergraduate student respondents and was conducted September 16 – September 22, 2017.

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 781 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
Angela Colatriano, 302-684-6066
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Duffy & Shanley, Inc.
Emily Hollenbeck, 401-278-4432
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