It has been a year of twists and turns for everyone.. but particularly for college students. Zogo brought together a group of them to get their honest thoughts on the current state of education and student finance, discussing everything from online learning to the student debt crisis. These were some of the key questions and answers from the discussion:
Did your parents prepare you for taking charge of your finances when starting college? Or was this something that you learned from just throwing yourself into it?
Natalie: I mostly learned from throwing myself into it. My parents focused on teaching me to save my money but I guess I was never really taught the ‘why’ part. I definitely wasn’t prepared for all the extra expenses at college that you wouldn’t think of, like sports fees and textbooks.
John: A little bit of both. A lot of it comes with experience but saving money was the first and foremost thing I was taught by my parents. I actually learnt a lot from my two older sisters that had been through the college process and watching them making their first financial decisions.
Should parents or schools be the one to teach kids about student finance?
Kevin: Schools would probably be one of the best platforms for that. Parents may come from different backgrounds and maybe they don’t know enough about the topic. There could be a chain of knowledge that’s missing. Schools would be a good place to instill some of that base knowledge and cover everybody on a uniform basis – the question is how would they do that.
Roshni: Schools should do at least the foundations of personal finance. Every family has a different financial position or viewpoint – they may not have the privilege to teach their kids about it. Schools need to prepare students and not just release them into the real world.
Do you think that high schools do a sufficient job at preparing students for taking on student debt?
John: Everyone knew it was coming, we all knew it was something we would have to deal with, but school never really highlighted the complexities of it as they should have. They spent so much time focused on getting us into college that they overlooked student debt. Even the tuition differences between in-state and out of state colleges weren’t really highlighted. They were just keen for us to get into the best school possible.
Roshni: There were close to 4,000 students in my high school. My grade alone had 800 kids. Between all of those students, there are only 2 college counselors. Moreover, there’s a very big class and racial divide. So the information tends to be geared towards certain groups depending on who needs it most – when really it should be universal.
There may be no answer to this but do you think there is a way to fix the student debt crisis?
Natalie: There are a lot of ideas that could potentially help but there aren’t many that are realistic. I think student loan refinancing would be really good for a lot of people. I also think the policy of FAFSA should be entirely changed because a lot of people get denied student aid, even those who truly need it. It’s based on a number system that seems to be completely skewed. I think it should be changed.
Kevin: It seems like right now a lot of the burden of student debt is falling on the students. The question is, do we want to be moving the student debt burden to the taxpayers? You can… but do you want to burden the taxpayers with the student debt if they’ve personally paid theirs off?
You can watch the full discussion, College Students Discuss the Future of Education, at: https://youtu.be/bHMkQXUrytg