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Scholarship It conducts a monthly survey to develop a deeper understanding of Generation Z. In May, we continued our recent deep dig into the impact of student debt by asking students how student loans might affect their future after they graduate from college. Based on the results, it is clear that there will be a significant impact. Of all the respondents, the vast majority (87%) indicated that they had student debt that needed to be paid.
Who participated in the survey?
In May 2023, ScholarshipOwl surveyed more than 10,000 high school and college students on scholarship platform ScholarshipOwl to find out how willing they were to resume student loan payments, which will begin 60 days after June 30, 2023. We were particularly interested to hear how student debt would affect their Decision making for students after their graduation. A total of 10,624 students responded to the survey.
Of the respondents, 64% were female, 34% were male, and 2% identified themselves as other. Almost half (45%) were Caucasian, 25% Black, 17% Hispanic/Latino, 6% Asian/Pacific Islander, and 7% Pacific Islander.
Almost half of the participants (48%) were high school students, the vast majority of whom were high school seniors; 41% were undergraduates, mainly undergraduates and sophomores; 8% were graduate students and 4% identified themselves as adult/non-traditional students.
Student loan payments have been paused for more than three years as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the Biden administration has extended the moratorium, the latest legislation requires the administration to resume loan payments 60 days after June 30, 2023. As such, further extensions will not be possible. Borrowers need to prepare themselves for this change, which will have a significant impact on their ability to absorb loan payments along with other living expenses. This will be particularly difficult due to the current economic conditions that include inflation, rising interest rates on mortgages, as well as layoffs in many sectors.
The first survey question was, “Thinking ahead of your college graduation and taking into account current economic conditions, how difficult do you think it is to get a job related to your major?”
More than three-quarters (83%) answered that it would be at least somewhat challenging for them to secure a job related to their major. Only 17% said they didn’t think it would be a challenge at all.
As a follow-up, we asked, “If you have student loan debt, how will that affect your job search after graduation? Check out all that apply.” More than half (54%) of respondents said they plan to pay off their student loans as quickly as possible, and that they would prioritize any job that pays the most to enable them to do so. Nearly half (41%) indicated that they would consider accepting a job outside their field of specialization to ensure that they are able to make their loan payments. On the other hand, nearly a third (32%) said taking steps to secure their dream job is more important than paying off debt, even if it means starting an internship or an entry-level job in their field. Only 3% said they have student debt but are not worried about paying it off. Only 14% of respondents reported that they would have no student debt at all.
The last survey question was, “If you have student loan debt, which of the following describes how you would handle paying off your student loan? Check all that apply.” Among those surveyed, nearly two-thirds (59%) of respondents indicated that they plan to work more than one job and/or do a side job to ensure they can make their student loan payments. More than a third (37%) plan to live with the family after they graduate rather than live on their own immediately, and 17% plan to ask the family to help them pay off their loans.
Many respondents plan to delay major accomplishments, with nearly half (46%) planning to delay buying a car or getting a better one; A quarter (25%) plan to postpone marriage. Half (50%) plan to put off buying a home. Nearly three-quarters (71%) are exploring payment options – 30% are considering consolidating their loans into a single loan to simplify the payment process, and 41% plan to choose an income-based payment plan that enables them to make lower payments initially until their income increases. A small minority (6%) plan to delay their loan payments for as long as possible through deferral and forbearance options.
Perhaps most importantly, the vast majority (87%) indicated that they had student debt that needed to be paid.
The main takeaway for Gen Z students.
The survey results indicate that Generation Z students understand the challenges posed by the current economic conditions, with the vast majority of them interested in finding a job related to their major. On the plus side, student borrowers plan to manage loan payments, and the majority are willing to make tough decisions in order to stay on top of their loans. Most of the respondents showed awareness of the borrower’s options including loan consolidation and income-based payment plans. These types of options provide greater flexibility, and help borrowers stay on track in making their loan payments. Finally, 13% of respondents were able to avoid a burden of student debt by paying for college with scholarships, grants, personal income, and family support. While this is good news for these students, it also means that the vast majority (87%) of students surveyed have student debt that they will need to pay off – clearly showing that students and families need alternatives to avoid using loans to pay for it. college.
Branding can be the answer
There are simply not enough scholarships to support the millions of students who need them. Brands can help through display Scholarship campaigns across the ScholarshipOwl for business platform To support students, while also achieving their business and charitable goals. Through this platform, brands can quickly and easily create and launch scholarship campaigns to reach the millions of students who are applying for scholarships on the ScholarshipOwl platform. This benefits students and brands alike, enabling companies to build relationships with Gen Z to support their marketing and communication goals.
To learn more about creating and launching a scholarship campaign, visit business.scholarshipowl.com.