American Consumer Credit Counseling Survey Finds that half of Respondents Say College is Not Worth the Cost

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American Consumer Credit Counseling survey echoes recent Northeastern University study. Crushing debt burden eroding the value of college education.

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When people are unable to start saving in early adulthood because of large student debt payments, it can dramatically alter the course of their lives and impact future financial decisions

The crushing financial burden of higher education is eroding the value of a college education, suggests an online survey conducted by American Consumer Credit Counseling. A little over half of 220 budget-conscious consumers surveyed in the ACCC poll said college was not worth the cost – with close to 70 percent of those respondents reporting total college debt in excess of $25,000.

“The tuition and other costs of college continue to escalate for American families,” said Steve Trumble, president and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “More and more young Americans are incurring huge debt right from the age of 18 - placing a tremendous burden on them for the remainder of their lives.”

Of the 111 respondents surveyed who believed that college was not worth the cost, 63 percent were aged 18 – 35, and 68 percent incurred $25,000 or more in student debt as a result of their education. Of the 109 respondents – 49.5 percent - who found that college was worth it, only half owed more than $25,000. According to the Institute for College Access and Success, the average debt burden for the Class of 2011 was just under $27,000.

“When people are unable to start saving in early adulthood because of large student debt payments, it can dramatically alter the course of their lives and impact future financial decisions,” said Trumble. “Young consumers are now waiting longer to buy homes, get married, have children, and, eventually, retire.”

The Newton-based non-profit also found that of those who did not feel college was worth it, only 21 percent work in the field that they majored in, compared with 54 percent of those who indicated college was worth the cost.

“Student debt is only one part of the problem,” continued Trumble. “The struggling economy has made it especially difficult for graduating students to find employment within their field of education. This erodes the perceived value of higher education, making graduates feel the money spent on college was not worth the overall financial burden.”

The results of the ACCC web poll echo the findings of a recent survey commissioned by Northeastern University, in which more than 60 percent of respondents rated the quality of the U.S. higher educational system as either “fair” or “poor.” Most respondents in that survey also said it’s more important for universities to lower tuition costs than it is for them to continue offering amenities like on-campus housing and athletic facilities.

Financial experts are growing increasingly alarmed about the impact that student loan debt will have on future generations of Americans. This year, for the first time, total student loan debt in the United States surpassed $1 trillion.

This online consumer poll was the latest in a series of ACCC web surveys for 2012 that focus on a variety of financial education, budgeting and planning topics. American Consumer Credit Counseling’s certified and experienced counselors offer a variety of financial education, counseling and debt management services to help consumers achieve long-term financial health and stability.

ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization, that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:

     • For credit counseling, call 800-769-3571
     • For bankruptcy counseling. call 866-826-6924
     • For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180
     • For more information on financial education workshops in New England, call 800-769-3571 x1980
     • Or visit us online at

About American Consumer Credit Counseling

American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial health through education, counseling, and debt management. ACCC provides individuals with practical solutions for solving financial problems and recognizes that consumers’ financial difficulties are often not the result of poor spending habits, but more frequently from extenuating circumstances beyond their control. As one of the nation’s leading providers of financial education and credit counseling services, ACCC works with consumers to help them with the best plan of action to reduce their debt and regain financial stability. ACCC is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and holds an A+ rating. It is also a member of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. For more information or to access free financial education resources log on to or visit Follow ACCC on twitter @TalkCentsBlog.

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