Costa Mesa, Calif., May 17, 2016 — College students may be about to receive their degrees but their credit education still needs some schooling. A national survey by Experian of college students graduating this year found that 69 percent of respondents will have student loan debt upon graduation. Despite the fact that most students accumulate debt, 71 percent of survey respondents said they did not learn about credit and debt management in college, giving their schools an average grade of C when it comes to preparing them to manage credit and debt after college.
“Learning how to properly manage debt and finances will be key to these young adults’ future financial success,” said Rod Griffin, director of Public Education at Experian. “Because students aren’t receiving credit and debt management education in college, they need to be proactive in educating themselves regarding the basics of credit and how it can impact future life goals.”
While the average grade students gave their colleges for credit and debt education was a C, one in five respondents gave their colleges an F in preparing them to understand how credit scores work. Further, more than half of the respondents (55 percent) said they feel like they are “going it alone” when it comes to their finances.
“Credit is a skill — one that can be developed through the right education,” explained Griffin. “The Experian Credit Education blog has useful credit information to help college grads learn the basics of credit and how they can work on their score. In addition, using a tool such as Experian Credit Tracker(SM) also can help monitor debt and financial accounts to keep finances on track.”
Despite the lack of credit education, college-related debt is a real concern for soon-to-be grads, with 72 percent of those surveyed expressing concern about paying off their debt. Additionally, 47 percent fear their debt will hold them back from making a major purchase, and 42 percent fear their debt will negatively affect their credit score.
Concerns over debt repayment have 37 percent of respondents “stressed” and 33 percent described themselves as “worried” about their current financial status. Not surprisingly, 57 percent wish they had taken on less debt, with 53 percent saying that when it comes to their finances, they feel like the odds are stacked against them. In fact, more than half (54 percent) of respondents said they are likely to defer their student loans after graduation.
Other key findings
• The average student loan debt among survey respondents was $22,813
• Thirty percent also have credit card debt, averaging $2,573
On credit cards:
• Thirty-one percent of survey respondents already have maxed out a credit card
• Thirty-nine percent accept credit card terms and conditions without reading them
On their finances and the future:
• Eighty-four percent of future grads surveyed do not have a job lined up after graduation
• Fewer than half (47 percent) know their credit score
Need help tackling your student debt? Enter Grad Sweepstakes presented by Experian on iHeartMedia radio programs across the country for a chance to win $2,500. To enter, visit http://bit.ly/24VvdEW between May 16, 2016 12:00:01am PT to May 22, 2016 11:59:59pm PT. Sweepstakes is open to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia who are at least eighteen (18) years of age or older as of the date of entry. One (1) potential winner will be selected in a random drawing. See Official Rules for details.
Win even more on social!
Are you about to graduate and proud of your accomplishments? Sound off on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for the chance to win a $100.00 cash gift card. During the Entry Period, post one (1) photo wearing a cap and gown and/or similar graduation attire; and (2) provide a written description, in 200 words or less, of what skills you have grown to earn your degree with the hashtag #Credit2Grads. One (1) potential winner will be selected, via a random prize drawing conducted by Sponsor on or about June 30, 2016. See http://bit.ly/23Vlnkg for Official Rules.
For more information on credit and how your credit score can impact your future financial goals, visit the Experian blog. Grads go to our blog to download the Grads, Take Credit Where Credit is Due! brochure.
About the survey
The online survey was conducted by Edelman Berland from April 11–19, 2016, on Experian’s behalf among 1,000 college students ages 18 to 25 who are graduating in the next six months and who reside in the United States. This online survey is not based on a probability sample; therefore, no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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About Experian Consumer Services
Experian Consumer Services, a part of Experian, provides credit monitoring and other informational products, such as identity protection, to millions of consumers via the Internet. The organization enables consumers to monitor their credit reports online, check their FICO® Scores and protect against identity theft. Its products include Experian Credit TrackerSM and ProtectMyID®.
Experian Consumer Services has established integrated, co-branded relationships with leading online financial destinations that provide consumers with a broad range of comprehensive online financial products and information essential to managing one’s financial life. For more information, visit http://www.experian.com.
We are the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to our clients around the world. We help businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. We also help people to check their credit report and credit score and protect against identity theft. In 2015, we were named one of the “World’s Most Innovative Companies” by Forbes magazine.
We employ approximately 17,000 people in 37 countries and our corporate headquarters are in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil.
Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended March 31, 2016, was US$4.6 billion.
To find out more about our company, please visit http://www.experianplc.com or watch our documentary, “Inside Experian.”
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