Fidelity’s Cost-Conscious College Graduates Study

   The findings from Fidelity Investments' study of recent college gradiates was just released. The study covered graduates of the classes of 2011, 2012 and 2013. 




The findings from Fidelity Investments’ study of recent college gradiates was just released. The study covered graduates of the classes of 2011, 2012 and 2013.


The study, carried out by ORC International, revealed not only the current state of college graduates’ finances and debt, but how they plan to pay their debt back. It also revealed motivations behind majors, payment approaches to college, what students would have done differently and advice to future college students.


Key findings from the study are below the infographic, or you can read the excutive summary here.


fidelity cap & frown infographic




Debt & Loans

  • Half of 2013 college grads were surprised by the amount of student debt they had incurred
  • 70% of the class of 2013 is graduating with debt, averaging $35,200
    • 56% of students had government loan debt, averaging $26,000
    • 22% of students had private loan debt, averaging $19,000
    • 12% of students had state loan debt, averaging $18,000
    • 23% of students had personal family loans, averaging $13,000
    • 25% of students had credit card debt, averaging $3,000
  • Most students believe it will take more than nine years to pay off their student loans
  • 7% do not think they will ever pay back their loans


Choices & Advice

  • 39% would have made different choices related to college planning had they understood the total cost of college, but don’t regret going to college
  • If they were beginning college now, the majority of students would have researched more grants/scholarships, while many would have started saving earlier or found ways to save and control costs while in school
  • Top advice from these recent grads to high school students: save early, research financial aid options, and look for ways to control costs while in college


Financial Behavior of Students

  • Recent grads show accountability, with 85% contributing some of their personal savings to their college tuition and expenses
  • 81% worked during the summer, school year, or both to help wth college-related expenses
  • 27% of students who contributed to their college expenses contributed more than $10,000


Majors, Finances & Job Outlook

  • 57% report they chose a specific major in hopes of securing a higher paying job
  • 28% of students of classes of 2011 and 2012 were in graduate school (or were applying)
  • Only 32% of students from the classes of 2011 & 2013 had a full-time job in field of their choice
  • 23% of students of classes 2011 & 2012 were only employed part-time or were unemployed (either actively seeking employment or not actively seeking employment)
  • 8% of students in class of 2013 have given up on looking in their field of choice


Financial Goals

  • One-half say paying off their student loan debt is the top financial goal
    • 92% of students will pay back debt through their primary job
    • 25% plan to pay with help from parents & family
  • 54% of recent grads have a financial plan in place to meet financial goals