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Media Contacts:

Emily Reed
Ogilvy Public Relations
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emily.reed@ogilvy.com

Chris Brooks
COUNTRY Financial
(309) 821-4510
chris.n.brooks@countryfinancial.com

Americans Willing to Shoulder More Debt Despite Questioning the Value of a College Degree

COUNTRY Survey: 57 percent of Americans Believe College is a Good Investment

Bloomington, Ill., July 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Americans continue to find less value in a college degree. However, they appear to think it’s acceptable to take on more debt to earn one. According to a new COUNTRY Financial Security Index® survey, the number of adults who think college is a good investment dropped to 57 percent, down from 81 percent in 2008. Nevertheless, four in ten (42 percent) said more than $20,000 is an acceptable amount of student loan debt to take on in pursuit of a college degree.

When asked how much student loan debt is too much, Americans were more tolerant of higher loan amounts. The shift suggests people now have a higher threshold for what they consider acceptable student loan debt. This trend might also be because 62 percent prioritized the quality of the education over the cost when evaluating colleges.

An Infographic depicting Americans’ changing opinions about the value of a college degree is available for download at www.countryfinancialsecurityindex.com.



How Much Student Loan Debt
is Too Much?

2012

2011

Less than $20K

50%

61%

$20K and above

42%

31%

“Even with the cost of college rising faster than inflation, a college degree is more valuable than ever. And, an aggressive plan for funding your child’s education can help eliminate the burden of unmanageable student loan debt,” said Joe Buhrmann, manager of financial security support at COUNTRY Financial. “So, start saving early and investigate all your funding avenues and alternative options, such as community college or working part-time.”

For tips on how college graduates can get the most value from their degree, watch a video interview with Beth Nolan, senior employment coordinator at COUNTRY Financial, at www.countryfinancialsecurityindex.com.

Who foots the bill?
The cost of obtaining a college degree may be having an impact on both young adults and their parents. Eighty percent of Americans said parents should be responsible for paying at least part of their child’s college education. A majority (57 percent) say half or less of their child’s college costs will be funded by student loans. Meanwhile, many adults are prioritizing retirement savings (45 percent) over college savings (38 percent).

“It’s encouraging many Americans are focusing on retirement and are still willing to help their kids with the cost of college. However, saving for both can be challenging,” added Buhrmann. “Parents and their children should work together to decide how much they should realistically borrow for college and see how each can contribute. Planning and consulting a knowledgeable professional can help you balance both of these needs.”

Additional Resource

The COUNTRY survey on college is based on a national telephone and online survey of 3,000 Americans and is compiled by Rasmussen Reports, LLC (www.rasmussenreports.com), an independent research firm.

About COUNTRY
COUNTRY Financial (http://www.countryfinancial.com) serves about one million households and businesses throughout the United States. It offers a full range of financial products and services from auto, home and life insurance to retirement planning services, investment management and annuities.

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Is a college education still a good investment?
Is a college education still a good investment?
Watch: COUNTRY Financial survey shows many Americans are questioning the value of a college degree. Check out ways to help make that college degree lead to career success.
Watch: COUNTRY Financial survey shows many Americans are questioning the value of a college degree. Check out ways to help make that college degree lead to career success.
COUNTRY Financial Security Index
COUNTRY Financial Security Index
COUNTRY Financial Security Index
COUNTRY Financial Security Index

Related Links

COUNTRY Financial Security Index
COUNTRY Index Updates on Twitter
COUNTRY Financial on YouTube
COUNTRY Financial

Related Document

July 2012 COUNTRY Financial Data – College