(WXYZ) — Majority of parents wish they had more time to plan for paying for their kids' college costs, and students are more closely examining the impacts of student debt, according to the second annual Student Lending Survey from Citizens Bank.
The findings showed that while almost 30% of parents said they first spoke to their children about paying for school when they were in the eighth grade or earlier, about 9% were considering loan options while their kids were in the eighth grade.
"It’s clear that more has to be done to help prepare students for the future — whether it is through helping them navigate paying for college or educating them on how to manage their money by establishing savings and checking accounts,” President of Consumer Deposits and Lending at Citizens Bank, Brendan Coughlin, said.
When paying for college, families are still using a combination of sources including income, savings, federal loans and private student loans. The student found forty four percent of parents have started to save for their kid’s college education before their child’s 11th birthday. Thirty-eight percent said they hadn't set aside any savings at all, sending them into a scramble at the last minute to fill any funding gaps.
More than half of parents and students reported that the process of obtaining a student loan was "much more difficult" than they thought. That process includes researching, comparing and selecting the right loan. Two thirds of both parents and students said that paying off student loans has taken longer than they expected.
Private student loans could be a good option and offer lower rates depending on an applicant's credit profile, Coughlin said.
Sixty percent of students also wished they had begun looking into college financing options earlier. Moreover, students and parents differ on whether or not parents should help their students pay for college. Fifty-eight percent of parents thought they should help, while 51% of students agreed.
“As tuition bills are sent out to families with children attending college this fall, it is important that they look at all of their options to fill any funding gaps,” Coughlin said.