New Surveys on Personal Financial Education and Debt

on March 23, 2016

The Council for Economic Education has released a biennial survey on the state of personal finance education in K-12 schools. The 2016 Survey of the States found that only 17 states require high school students to take a personal finance class before graduation. That number remains unchanged since the 2014 survey.

Separately, a Sallie Mae survey, Majoring in Money, reported that 77 percent of college students aged 18-24 pay their bills on time, 60 percent are living within their means and 24 percent have an emergency fund. Almost two-thirds of those who have credit cards (63 percent) pay their credit card bills in full each month.  

The 2015 Law School Survey of Student Engagement reports that 44 percent of law school students in 2015 expect to borrow $100,000 or more to pay for law school, up from 32 percent in 2006. The increase in law school debt is causing increased stress and anxiety. More than two-thirds (70 percent) of law-school students who expect to owe $120,000 or more say that they experience high levels of stress about finances and student loans, compared to 9 percent of students who expect no debt. Expectations of six-figure debt now vary by race, with 61 percent of black students and 56 percent of Hispanic students saying that they will need to borrow $100,000 or more, compared with 40 percent of white and Asian students. The survey also found that debt levels correlate with performance on the LSAT (a greater proportion of students with lower LSAT scores expect to take on six-figure debt).

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