Prospective students may be in for a surprise about college financing

High school students have unrealistic expectations about how they will finance their college education, according to a recent study by Navient and EverFi.

The findings indicate a need for additional education about the realities of college financing, Darla Mercado reports for CNBC.

For the survey, researchers asked 22,000 high school students, including 15,000 upperclassmen, about how they expect to pay for college and their experience with financial aid. The students were geographically diverse, collectively representing 47 states and a mix of public and private schools.

According to the survey, student respondents largely underestimate the cost of college. Only 41% of respondents say they expect to need loans for college—but even families earning $105,405 annually are unable to afford most colleges without debt, according to another recent study

Many also say they expect to work while in college: 66% plan to work during the summer and 72% plan to work during the school year.

Working in college is common, but previous research has found that many students end up working hours that make academic success difficult. Around 40% of undergraduates work more than 30 hours per week—twice as much as the accepted threshold for academic success. The kinds of jobs students tend to take also fail to provide experience relevant to their future career paths (Mercado, CNBC, 4/26; Navient/Everfi report, accessed 4/28). 

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