Student loan debt is a concern for many Hoosier families.
College graduates across the state now hold an average of nearly $30,000 in student loan debt – which is slightly below the national average.
An annual survey from INvestEd found 76% of Hoosiers surveyed are concerned about the level of student-loan debt.
Vice-President of Marketing Bill Wozniak said there are free financial aid literacy and education funding options available to help ease the worry.
“There is this completely free help out there, but people are nervous about asking,” Wozniak said.
Programs such as 21st Century Scholars and the Indiana Career Accelerator Fund, can help offset higher education costs.
“People think the $32,000 or the $26,000 or whatever they see as the sticker price is the out-of-pocket amount and in most cases that is not the case,” Wozniak said.
Last year, INvestEd provided free guidance to more than 32,000 Hoosiers by phone and at 759 in-person or virtual events across the state.
Other key findings from the annual survey commissioned by INvestEd include:
86% of respondents say Hoosiers should have the option to pay for college using a percentage of their future income, if they prefer.
77% of respondents are concerned that student debt is stifling economic growth, worker skilling and/or talent retention in Indiana.
59% of Hoosiers say it is not easy to understand the full process of paying for college.
“We need more Hoosiers to understand the financial aid options that make higher education more affordable,” said Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers. “In fact, Indiana ranks first in the Midwest and fifth in the nation in need-based aid.