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A student reads
The cost of education means student loans are on the rise
posted in: Financial Wellness
by Steve Fast

Back to school, back to debt: Americans worried about student loans

Americans are buried in student debt.

The COUNTRY Financial Security Index survey found Americans carrying an average of more than $36,000 of student loan debt. And with the cost of college having risen more than one thousand percent over the last 30 years, it’s no wonder the burden of student loans has become greater.

A majority of those surveyed agreed it is worth taking on student debt to pursue an education beyond high school (66 percent). Most also felt attending college or trade school was vital to their future success (86 percent).

But managing that student debt has become a concern.

One-third of Americans reported fears they would never be able to repay their student loans. Of those still working to pay off their loans, nearly half (48 percent) said they had missed a payment at least once.

The majority of those who missed a student loan payment did not do so because of an error or out of forgetfulness.

Instead those who missed the payments said it was because they simply did not have the funds to manage the debt.

Securing a better financial future  

The cost of education doesn’t appear to be going down any time in the foreseeable future.

Whether you’re a recent graduate who is entering the workforce for the first time or an experienced worker who’s continuing education, almost everyone can take some simple steps to better manage student loans.

Borrowers should consider these simple steps to manage student loans:

  • Take a realistic look at post-college living expenses
  • Create a budget for post-college life
  • Understand loan restructuring and consolidation options
  • Set long-term financial goals that incorporate saving and debt management

It’s certainly not uncommon for people to have a few thousand dollars of student debt after graduation. Once that diploma is in hand, an evaluation of their personal financial present is a smart way to create a future where student debt isn’t in the picture.

About The COUNTRY Financial Security Index®

Since 2007, the COUNTRY Financial Security Index has measured Americans' sentiments of their personal financial security. The Index also delves deeper into individual personal finance topics to better inform Americans about the issues impacting their finances. Survey data, videos and analysis are available at and on Twitter at @helloCOUNTRY.

The COUNTRY Financial Security Index was created by COUNTRY Financial. This survey was conducted by EMC Research, Inc., an independent research firm, commissioned by COUNTRY Financial. Surveys were conducted using a national online research panel designed to be representative of the general population and includes responses from 1,000 U.S. adults over the age of 18 for national surveys with additional interviews completed in Georgia, Illinois, Missouri and Oregon to bring the total in each of those states to 500 completed surveys.

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