Colorado’s Incoming College Freshmen Unsure About Student Loans

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The transition to college is a monumental step for many high school seniors across the country. The College Board, with the help of Seventeen Magazine, recently surveyed more than 110,000 students to discover what’s on the minds of incoming freshmen as they continue their educational journey.

The students were asked about everything from the cost of college to expectations for dorm life to their major field of study. For many, a big concern is how they’re going to pay for their college educations. Out of the incoming freshmen in Colorado who responded to the survey, 43 percent said they planned to take out student loans.

The survey went to graduating high school seniors during April and May of 2019. Not all of the approximately 110,000 students who completed the survey responded to every question. Additionally, states weren’t ranked on questions that received fewer than 50 responses.

Seventeen Magazine and The College Board ranked the findings nationally, but broke down the data by state at Patch’s request.

Here’s what high school seniors in Colorado said last spring about continuing on to college:

  • How many four-year colleges/universities did you apply to? The most prevalent answer: six
  • Are you planning on taking out loans to help pay for college? 43 percent said yes.
  • How would you rate your level of concern? 51 percent were very concerned
  • What was the hardest part of the college process? The most prevalent answer: ‘Figuring out how to get financial aid or scholarships’
  • Which part of dorm life are you most nervous about? The most prevalent answer:’Getting along with roommates’
  • Are you planning on working a job while in college? 74 percent said ‘yes’
  • What was your most stressful part of high school? 84 percent said ‘doing well in school’
  • How many scholarships did you apply for? The most prevalent answer: ‘more than three’
  • Why do you want to major in your field of choice? The most prevalent answer: ‘Passion for subject’
  • Do you know the steps you need to take before your career begins? The most prevalent answer: ‘I’m pretty sure I understand the steps I need to take’
  • How often did teachers in high school assign you grades higher than deserved? The most prevalent answer: ‘Rarely’

The final question was, “How much of an impact did the potential to save money in college have on your decision to take AP (advanced placement courses)?” In Colorado, the most prevalent answer was ‘strong impact.’

In total, 80 percent of graduating seniors said the biggest challenge facing them is the cost of college tuition and student loan debt, according to Seventeen Magazine. On a national scale, the survey also found that a staggering 90 percent of respondents are “very or somewhat” concerned about going into debt after graduation.

Despite these high figures, one-third of respondents didn’t apply for scholarships. Seventeen said they cited both “lack of time and information as well as lack of need as the main reasons why they opted not to” seek scholarships.

The survey also found that on average, students around the U.S. applied to six colleges or universities, which is on par with how many students in Colorado applied to. Overall, more than 50 percent of high school seniors who responded to the survey were nervous about the social aspect of college.

Patch reporter Gus Saltonstall contributed to this report.

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