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USA TODAY Spotlights CUNA's Student Loan Survey
NEW YORK (5/13/13)--
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USA TODAY shone a spotlight on the Credit Union National Association's High School Student Borrowing Survey by featuring a graphic of key survey results on the front page of its Money section in Friday's nationwide print edition.

The chart is in the popular "USA Snapshot" space in the lower left-hand column under the heading: I pick 'D. Don't Know' and shows the percentage of students who said "don't' know" when asked these questions about student loans and college expenses:

  • Average student loan rate: 83% didn't know;
  • Student loan duration:77%;
  • Number of loans needed to graduate: 61%; and
  • Expected debt at graduation: 50%.
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The source attribution says: "Source: CUNA survey of 846 teens age 17-18."

CUNA's survey found that half of high school seniors have no idea what college will cost or how debt works and indicates many lack basic financial knowledge, according to Paul Gentile, CUNA executive vice president of strategic communications and engagement.

USA TODAY's chart is another step in generating awareness about the plight of students overloaded with student loan debt when they graduate from college. Student loan debt, which was more than $1 trillion in 2012, is the largest source for consumer debt in the U.S., a fact that has caught the attention of federal agencies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (News Now April 23).

"Credit unions are a good source to go to for help. They can provide financial education so students better understand the basics and how their decisions on college funding impact their financial future," Gentile noted.  "Credit unions also provide affordable funding with private student loans at reasonable terms," he added.

CUNA and credit unions are urging Congress to permit credit unions to offer longer-term private student loans so students have an affordable alternative. Federal credit unions are limited to loans with maturities of 15 years or less, with certain exceptions such as mortgage loans, by laws that were enacted when the college tuition and other costs were less expensive.

A number of media have reported CUNA's survey findings, including NBC, The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post and Bankrate.com.
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