Education: Enter at Your Own Risk

Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type


First Advisor

Rebecca Overmyer-Velazquez


The American higher education system has created a new debt driven standard of society that has formed the next great economic bubble. In the past couple of years, student loan debt has surpassed the national credit card debt and is continually rising. This project will argue that by implementing a mandatory financial planning and comprehension course, colleges nation-wide could prevent a possible economic crisis and help students everywhere to make planned and educated decisions when preparing to pay for college. Through the use of student surveys, I was able to gain a better understanding of the lending trends at a small liberal arts college in Southern California. My research set out to find if the college was doing its part in decreasing the amount of student loan debt. Students were asked about their personal knowledge about their loans’ terms and conditions as well as if they had sought financial advice from the college. I found that almost seventy five percent of the students who responded had never sought financial advice from any branches of the college’s administration. What is more, when the students were asked to scale their comprehension of the terms and conditions of their student loans, the majority of students ranked their comprehension as six and below (ten being completely understand); three was the highest scored answer on the scale. While my findings show that the liberal arts college could do a better job of providing their students with the proper tools for financially planning and preparing for a college degree, the administration needs to find a system for their students that is appropriate and effective. The financial future of their students is at risk, and if their graduates prosper in the future, so will the college’s reputation as a catalyst for future financial success.


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