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New Survey Reveals Alarming Lack of Financial Education Among Students

Nearly half of students think their school isn’t doing enough to educate them about personal finance—and many have strong fears about graduating with debt and not landing a job.

That’s according to WalletHub’s Student Money Survey, where college students were asked questions about their attitudes toward money.

“Students need a personal-finance role model,” Odysseas Papadimitriou, WalletHub’s CEO, says. “Without guidance, many students are left to their own devices and wind up spending recklessly just to keep up with friends and what they see on social media.”


The top post-graduation fear among students is not finding a job (39%), followed by student loan debt (35%) and credit card debt (13%).

Still, more than 75% believe that their tuition is a good investment. How students view the purpose of their education is also changing. 46% say that they will try to make as much money as possible professionally rather than follow their passion.


With the average student loan debt currently at $37,338, debt is top of mind for most students.

54% of students say a parent’s debt has negatively impacted them—and nearly one in three students would describe their parents’ attitude toward personal finance as “overly cautious.”

Despite these fears, it seems most students don’t have proper knowledge of their finances. More than one in 10 say they have not checked their credit report in the past three months and more than one in three say they wish they had learned more about how to do their taxes before reaching adulthood. A shocking 15% of students say they are not comfortable talking about money with their families.


WalletHub’s report reflects findings from a nationally representative online survey encompassing nearly 210 students (full-time or part-time, attending two-year or four-year schools).

After collecting responses, WalletHub normalized the data by gender and income so that the sample would reflect U.S. demographics.

Sources: WalletHub, Education Data Initiative

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