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Results Of CUNA's Student Borrowing Survey Make an Impression
MADISON, Wis. (4/29/13)--Credit Union National Association's Student Borrowing Survey, which found half of high school seniors have no idea what college will cost, has been duly noted by bankruptcy lawyers, accountants and economic education groups, who are citing CUNA's results as one more reason for financial education.

San Diego bankruptcy attorneys at the Golden State Law Group, which represents businesses and individuals in financial difficulty, in a press release cited most of the survey's findings, saying they "find the results of this survey troubling, as it indicates that not enough people who are going to take out student loans are aware of the true nature of these obligations. Student loan debt is generally not a type of debt that can be discharged in a bankruptcy case in the absence of relatively rare circumstances."

The law firm, seeing a business opportunity, encouraged people struggling with student loan debt to contact it for a free initial consultation.

The accounting industry is also taking note, with articles in CP PracticeAdvisor.com (April 22) and accountingweb.com (April 25). Both cite the survey.

The Council for Economic Education (CEE), which hopes to implement a National Standards for Financial Literacy as a framework for content and skills it believes should be contained in K-12 personal finance curriculum, said that personal finance isn't being taught enough in U.S. schools ( accountingweb.com).

CEE's survey found  that 46 states include personal finance in their K-12 standards but only 36 require the standards to be taught.  It also found that:

  • Fourteen states offer a high school course on personal finance;
  • Thirteen states require taking a course on personal finance before one can graduate; and
  • Five states have tests on personal finance or financial literacy.
The article refers to the CUNA survey findings that indicate more awareness is needed and quotes CUNA Executive Vice President of Strategic Communications and Engagement Paul Gentile.

"These troubling findings suggest not just a lack of awareness of college cost or how debt works but also a lack of basic financial knowledge," he said. "The results suggest that some students could be challenged in managing basic expenses or using such payment tools as credit cards in a consistently responsible manner as they enter adulthood."

CUNA's press release about its survey was also reported, verbatim, in CPAPracticeAdvisor and Manufacturing Close-Up (April 25).  Earlier last week, several news outlets covered CUNA's findings. They included the Huffington Post, Sacramento Bee and KTEN.com in Texas and Oklahoma.

To recap the CUNA survey's key findings:

  • 83% of students surveyed did not know the rates and 77% didn't know the duration of their expected or existing college loans;
  • 74% of those aspiring to attend college said they will need a combination of federal and private loans, family money and jobs to support their tuition; and
  • 25% expect to take out two or more student loans; 13%, one loan; and 60% could not estimate how many they would need.
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