A new survey of 1,000 teens by Junior Achievement USA and Voya Foundation shows that nearly two-thirds of teens, or 65 percent, believe borrowers are ultimately responsible for paying off their student loans, even if they borrowed more money than they are able to pay off, while 11 percent believe the government should do so. Fewer, 7 percent, believe it is the responsibility of the college and 5 percent think it’s up to the lender to resolve.

Image/Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay Twitter
Image/Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay Twitter

The survey was conducted March 1-6 by Opinion Research.

“What this survey shows is that today’s teens need information on how to make informed choices on choosing the best higher education avenue for them and how to pay for it,” said Richard George, President of JA Tampa Bay. “This is why it’s so critical that our young people have the kinds of financial literacy programs JA offers free to schools in our community.”

Richard George notes that a four-year college education is the second largest investment many people will make in their lifetimes, and yet decisions to take on student debt are made by 17 and 18 year olds who have received little to no financial literacy education. This can result in students assuming more debt than they are able to pay off with their expected future income.

Each year, Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay reaches more than 94,000 students in the Tampa Bay area with programs focused on financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship. Another resource available to teens, parents, teachers, and school counselors is JA Influencer, a free online resource that explores the opportunities and challenges associated with student loans. A guide titled “Understanding The Student Loan Explosion: Implications for Students and Their Families,” also investigates the various factors students should take into consideration when exploring opportunities in higher education. These include gaining a better understanding of the real costs of going to college and weighing alternatives to a four-year school, such as community college and technical schools.

JA Influencer is the result of support from Voya to reach students through Junior Achievement. Voya has partnered with Junior Achievement since 2001; the partnership is centered on the shared belief in the need to actively prepare and equip future generations to succeed.

The survey also found that 89 percent of teens who responded expect to attend college. Of those, 40 percent expect help in the form of scholarships and grants; 21 percent believe they will receive financial support from their parents and family members; 17 percent plan to work to earn money for college; and approximately 11 percent anticipate taking on student loans to help pay for their higher education. The results represent the findings of an Opinion Research Youth CARAVAN survey conducted among a sample of 1,000 13-17 year olds.  That survey was live March 1-6, 2016.