Students across different majors take on different amounts of student loan debt to fund their tuition and fees. However, biosciences majors are more likely to owe higher amounts of debt, a new survey of 2,500 recent and upcoming graduates by Cengage Student Opportunity Index revealed.
The survey found that most bioscience students owe more than $30,000 in student loan debt, while healthcare majors often don’t owe any debt.
Nearly 44 percent of students with humanities majors are less optimistic about graduating without student loans, which they say will probably take eight years to pay off.
Overall, 51 percent of recent and upcoming graduates hold an average of $22,919 in student loan debt. The average time graduates think it will take to pay off their debt was six years.
Student loan debt is also affecting various choices graduates make, including housing. 65 percent of respondents, mostly in the Northeast and the West, said they will likely have to move away from their current area to afford a house.
As students graduate, most of them anticipate better job opportunities to pay off their debts. Among different majors, STEM, healthcare, and biosciences graduates are more optimistic about the job market and economic outlook.
92 percent with healthcare and STEM majors, and 86 percent humanities and social sciences majors showed confidence that they will land a job fairly quickly after graduating.
“A college education has long been seen as the path to a better job and, ultimately, a better life,” Michael E. Hansen, CEO of Cengage, said.
“The Index shows that college is still a solid investment, but students’ optimism about their futures signals they don’t yet appreciate how loan debt and housing costs may impact their ability to find the jobs they want. This clearly underscores the need for the education ecosystem to work together on policies and programs that make college more affordable and help students transition from college to the workplace.”
Overall, 88 percent of recent and upcoming graduates believe that the number of available jobs in their field of study will increase over the next two years.
Apart from finding jobs and paying off debt, students are also concerned about the future of the country. Nearly half of the students surveyed said the country is headed in the wrong direction, with women especially likely to say this.