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Two-Thirds of Teens See Borrowers, Not Government, Responsible for Paying Off Student Loan Debt

Junior Achievement Financial Literacy Programs Can Help Teens Make Better Informed Choices about Paying for College

Milwaukee, WI – A new survey of 1,000 teens by Junior Achievement USA and Voya Foundation shows that nearly two-thirds of teens, or 65 percent, believe borrowers are ultimately responsible for paying off their student loans, even if they borrowed more money than they are able to pay off, while 11 percent believe the government should do so. Fewer, 7 percent, believe it is the responsibility of the college and 5 percent think it’s up to the lender to resolve.

The survey was conducted March 1-6 by Opinion Research.

“What this survey shows is that today’s teens need information on how to make informed choices on choosing the best higher education avenue for them and how to pay for it,” said Tim Greinert, president of JA Wisconsin “This is why it’s so critical that our young people have the kinds of financial literacy programs JA offers free to schools in our community.”

Greinert notes that a four-year college education is the second largest investment many people will make in their lifetimes, and yet decisions to take on student debt are made by 17 and 18 year olds who have received little to no financial literacy education. This can result in students assuming more debt than they are able to pay off with their expected future income.

Each year, Junior Achievement of Wisconsin reaches more than 160,000 students in the state with programs focused on financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship. Another resource available to teens, parents, teachers, and school counselors is JA Influencer, a free online resource that explores the opportunities and challenges associated with student loans. A guide titled “Understanding The Student Loan Explosion: Implications for Students and Their Families,” also investigates the various factors students should take into consideration when exploring opportunities in higher education. These include gaining a better understanding of the real costs of going to college and weighing alternatives to a four-year school, such as community college and technical schools.

JA Influencer is the result of support from Voya to reach students through Junior Achievement. Voya has partnered with Junior Achievement since 2001; the partnership is centered on the shared belief in the need to actively prepare and equip future generations to succeed.

The survey also found that 89 percent of teens who responded expect to attend college. Of those, 40 percent expect help in the form of scholarships and grants; 21 percent believe they will receive financial support from their parents and family members; 17 percent plan to work to earn money for college; and approximately 11 percent anticipate taking on student loans to help pay for their higher education. The results represent the findings of an Opinion Research Youth CARAVAN survey conducted among a sample of 1,000 13-17 year olds.  That survey was live March 1-6, 2016. 

About Voya Foundation
Voya Foundation's mission is to improve the quality of life in communities where Voya Financial® operates and its employees and customers live. Voya Foundation provides grants and establishes signature partnerships in the areas of financial literacy and children's education, and fosters employee engagement to deepen our positive impact on the community. For more information, visit www.voyafoundation.com.

About Voya Financial®

Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), helps Americans plan, invest and protect their savings — to get ready to retire better. Serving the financial needs of approximately 13 million individual and institutional customers in the United States, Voya is a Fortune 500 company that had $11 billion in revenue in 2015. The company had $452 billion in total assets under management and administration as of Dec. 31, 2015. With a clear mission to make a secure financial future possible — one person, one family, one institution at a time — Voya’s vision is to be America’s Retirement Company™. The company is equally committed to conducting business in a way that is socially, environmentally, economically and ethically responsible — Voya has been recognized as one of the 2016 World’s Most Ethical Companies® by the Ethisphere Institute, and as one of the Top Green Companies in the U.S., by Newsweek magazine. For more information, visit voya.com or view the company’s 2014 annual report. Follow Voya Financial on Facebook and Twitter @Voya.

For more information, contact Megan Olson at 414-577-3826 and molson@jawis.org.

To set up an interview with Tim Greinert, arrange a visit to the JA Kohl’s Education Center, or to request high-resolution images, contact Megan Olson at 414-577-3826 and molson@jawis.org or Jessica Levine at 414-271-0101; jlevine@boelterlincoln.com.

About Junior Achievement of Wisconsin

Junior Achievement of Wisconsin, Inc. is dedicated to educating students about work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs. The organization prepares young people for the real world, showing them how to generate wealth and effectively manage it, create jobs which make their communities more robust and apply entrepreneurial thinking to the workplace. Over 168,000 students in the state of Wisconsin put these lessons into action every year and learn the value of contributing to their communities.

 

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