Less Than Half of 2016 Graduates Are Confident College Was Worth the Cost

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Student Loan Hero survey reveals this year’s graduates’ outlook on their student loan debt and careers.

The truth is that far too many students are unaware of the long-term consequences of college debt, and therefore, aren’t always able to make smart choices when it comes to choosing a college or major.

Results from Student Loan Hero’s survey of Class of 2016 graduates revealed that less than half (47%) of grads stated they are certain college was worth the cost, while 53% of respondents were either unsure or didn't think the cost of college was worth it. Additionally, just over half of graduates stated they believe they’ll find a job within three months of graduation. Four in five respondents believe they will earn the same or a higher salary as they expected when choosing their majors.

Respondents, all 2016 college graduates with student loan debt, were also surveyed about their plans to handle student loan payments after graduation. Forty-six percent of graduates plan to begin making payments once their grace periods are over, while over 15 percent expect to delay payments beyond the six month grace period. Notably, 20 percent of respondents stated they used student loans to pay for non-educational expenses such as vacations, dining at restaurants, and entertainment.


“As someone who ended up with six figures in student loan debt and struggled to find a high-paying job, I know what it’s like to come to grips with post-college reality,” said Andrew Josuweit, CEO of Student Loan Hero. “The truth is that far too many students are unaware of the long-term consequences of college debt, and therefore, aren’t always able to make smart choices when it comes to choosing a college or major.”

Key Findings

-Over 15 percent of new graduates plan to delay making student loan payments past the 6-month grace period.
-Those who expect to earn a higher salary are more likely to start making payments immediately following graduation, while respondents who don’t expect to have a job are more likely to delay payments.
-About one in five graduates used their student loans to pay for non-education expenses.
-Half of respondents are confident they will have a job within three months of graduating, while 15 percent believe they will not.
-Nearly 40 percent of college graduates aren’t sure if their education was worth the cost, while 14 percent are certain it was not.
-Nearly one in five graduates now believe they’ll earn a lower salary than they first expected when choosing a major.
-Those who expect to earn a lower salary are about three times as likely to wish they had chosen a different major.
-When asked considering the cost of their educations, what would graduates have done differently, one in four stated they would have taken fewer semesters to graduate; over a third would not do anything differently.

Survey Methodology

Survey was conducted via Google Consumer Surveys on behalf of Student Loan Hero from May 6 - May 8, 2016, with a nationally representative sample of 1,012 graduating students living in the United States. “Will you graduate with a degree from a college or university in 2016 and have student loan debt?” was used as a screening question (with a target answer of “yes”).

About Student Loan Hero

Student Loan Hero combines easy-to-use tools with financial education to help the millions of Americans living with student loan debt manage and pay off their loans. Student Loan Hero has helped more than 60,000 borrowers manage and eliminate over $1 billion in student loan debt since 2012 and assists over one million people in becoming more financially healthy every year.

Student Loan Hero offers both current and former students free loan calculators, as well as unbiased, personalized advice and repayment plans through an easy-to-use online dashboard.

Founded in 2012 by CEO Andrew Josuweit, who himself had over $100,000 in student loans, Student Loan Hero operates on the belief that all loan help and recommendations should come with honesty and no hidden agenda.

Student Loan Hero has offices in New York, Austin and Portland. For more information, visit https://studentloanhero.com.

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Megan Hartwick, Senior Campaign Executive

Casey Bond
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