Should We Teach Teenagers About Student Loans in High School?

Posted on February 22, 2017 at 12:00pm by
Picture of female teacher

A common complaint about higher education debt is that many borrowers did not understand what they were signing into when they applied for student loans. High school students may lack the necessary knowledge to avoid some of the consequences of excessive higher education debt. Surveys conducted by various organizations may have provided some validity to these claims.

NextGenVest, a financial mentoring startup, recently surveyed 225 high school seniors across the country to test their knowledge on student loans. According to the results, 68 percent of high school seniors do not understand loan payment or refinancing services that will be available to them after they graduate.

Additional research conducted by the Credit Union National Association claims 50 percent of high school seniors do not know how much money they will need for college. Another 70 percent are confident they will receive high-paying jobs after completing their degrees. If the results of these surveys are accurate, it implies that many high school seniors lack the knowledge necessary to plan their finances during and after college.

If students were taught about higher education debt in high school, such as how to plan for tuition and living expenses costs, or how compound interest works, they may be better equipped to handle repayment. Workshops, classes or counselors could also focus on teaching students how to apply for grants or other forms of tuition assistance. In addition, students could learn about their desired degree paths so they can develop realistic expectations about future earnings.

Some high schools already perform these services, but many do not. NextGenVest’s survey found only 31 percent of respondents received guidance from their high schools on how to navigate college financing. These services may be unaffordable for many school districts, or they may be understaffed. Parents can also help their children explore options for financing.

What Options are Available for People Struggling with Higher Education Debt?

We often hear of financial horror stories involving borrowers who planned on high-paying careers, and took out hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans to finance their degrees. There is also a misconception that borrowers in these situations have no options for relief. That is not always the case.

Our Kansas City bankruptcy attorneys can help you discover possible modifications for your loans. We can also help you discover whether it may be possible to seek a hardship discharge. However, you may have a more difficult time discovering which options are available if you do not make that first phone call.