Is This Why So Many Students Have Too Much Debt?
Life + Money

Is This Why So Many Students Have Too Much Debt?

iStockphot/The Fiscal Times

Almost all college financial aid officers (95 percent) believe that their office has a responsibility to educate students in financial literacy.

Still, with some critics calling America’s student debt levels a crisis, at least one in five financial aid offices has no financial literacy program, and more than half of those with a program believe it could use improvement, according to a new study by iontuition.

Related: College Students Are Missing Out on Billions in Free Financial Aid

Nearly 60 percent of the financial aid officers surveyed said that they struggled to get support from campus leadership for financial literacy. The biggest challenge to such programs, however, was student engagement.

The U.S. Department of Education requires entrance and exit counseling for those taking out student loans, but less than half of those surveyed believed that those programs were effective in teaching students everything they need to know about financial aid and borrowing.

Just 45 percent of those surveyed felt that students were knowledgeable about basic financial concepts like budgeting and credit card borrowing. Less than a quarter of those surveyed agreed that students know how much interest accrues on their loans while in school or understand who their loan servicer is.

Part of the reason that students need to learn financial literacy in high school is that they’re not getting it in college. Less than half of states received an “A” or “B” grade when rated on their curricula on the subject, according to a 2015 report by the Champlain College Center for Financial Literacy.