Earlier this month, more than 2,000 financial aid administrators from around the country landed in Nashville, Tennessee, ready to tackle the biggest issues in paying for college. The setting was the 2014 NASFAA conference, or the annual meeting of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. With this many FAFSA, scholarship and loan experts all under one roof, we could hardly resist the opportunity to hear firsthand what they believe are the most pressing problems facing students today.
We surveyed 129 of these financial aid administrators from universities large and small, public and private, and the answer was unequivocal: the biggest issue facing students is a lack of financial knowledge.
We’ve all heard the scary numbers: 70% of students graduate with debt, and the average debt load for the class of 2012 was $29,400, according to the Institute for College Access and Success. And that’s not taking into account the roughly 40% of students who leave college without a degree, but most likely still have loans to repay.
NerdScholar asked what are the pain points and what can we do about it? The results below are just the tip of the iceberg. The goal of financial aid administrators is to help students have a rewarding college experience by providing them with all things financial, so there is no one better to help us understand the current financial aid landscape.
What is the problem?
What can we do about it?