Feb 03 2015

Student Lending: Challenges and Opportunities for Credit Unions


While federal and private student lending programs expand access to college for many students, they are contributing to a national debt crisis. Credit unions are positioned to offer students sound advice and financial assistance to help them navigate through college responsibly.

    Report Number 349

    Executive Summary

    Graduating from college is one of life’s great milestones. It marks the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. It validates all of the late-night study sessions, research papers, and two-hour midterm exams. College graduation brings joy. It also comes with a price—a very expensive one. This is especially true for those students who rely on loans to finance their college tuition, books, and housing. In fact, the average borrower will graduate with $26,600 of student debt.

    College graduates are better positioned to earn more over their lifetime than those with high school diplomas, but the steep costs of attending college have dissuaded many from pursuing higher education. College tuition costs are rising, the unemployment rate for new graduates remains high, and many Americans are at risk of defaulting on their student loans. Absent scholarships or grants, it’s hard for the average middle- income household to avoid the financial pitfalls of college.