Student loans, not credit cards, are now the largest source of debt for many Americans. According to new survey by The Institute for College Access and Success, the average college student has a debt load of $24,000. That’s a heavy load for many students, as skyrocketing default rates on student loans are demonstrating.
It’s important that college students know what they’re getting themselves into when they take out large student loans – and the Department of Education is getting involved.
In July 2010, the U.S. Department of Education developed an education initiative designed to challenge states to create and implement a financial literacy program in troubled school districts. The program is designed to better prepare students to apply for Federal Student Financial Aid (FAFSA) by awarding money to needy school districts for financial literacy education.
Out of 14 initial applications, Tennessee schools scored the highest and will be rewarded with grant funding over the next four years. Through the funding received from The Financial Education for College Access and Success Program, Tennessee will be able to prepare educators to better assist students with financial-aid and financial planning decisions as well as other decisions related to pursuing and succeeding in higher education.
Pursuing post-secondary education, whether at a ground school or online university, is often confusing. The U.S. Department of Education hopes the program will provide students with the information they need about the college enrollment process and the importance and availability of financial help.
In a U.S. Department of Education press release, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, “the United States has the best colleges and universities in the world, but we’re not doing the best job of preparing our students to be college or career-ready. Investing in financial literacy through programs like Financial Education for College Access and Success will ensure that teachers have the tools and resources they need to help students make informed decisions about pursuing and paying for college, and planning for the future.”