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Smart Money

Smart Money logo

Smart Money is a new program created by the Student Development Division to address the growing number of Collin College students postponing or even abandoning their academic pursuits.  This trend is due to the combination of higher educational costs and increased personal debt.  Many entering college students are completely unaware and under prepared for the financial responsibility they will encounter after their high school graduation. This program will seek to lessen the impact of poor money management skills of current students through educational opportunities, resource development, and the establishment of community contacts.

National Data


    Average student-loan debt of borrowers in the college class of 2011 

               rose to about $26,500 

              (a 5% increase from about $23,350 the previous year)

          Two-thirds of those who earn bachelor’s degrees in 2011 had loans

          Approximately one-fifth of that debt was from private student loans 

              (which has fewer consumer protections and repayment options

              than  federal loans)

(source:  Institute for College Access and Success)


          Percent of undergraduates with at least one credit card:  84%

              (up from 76% in 2004)

          Average number of credit cards = 4.6

              (half of college students had four or more cards)

          Average balance on credit cards grew from $2,169 (2004)

              to $3,173 (2009),  while median debt grew from $946 (2004)

              to $1,645 (2009).

          21% of students had credit card debt between $3,000 - $7,000

(source:  Sallie Mae’s National Study of Usage Rates and Trends 2009)


          The percentage of students graduating in 2000 with some level of

              student loan debt was 64%.

          The percentage of student loan borrowers with an unmanageable level

              of debt* was 39%. (*Unmanageable debt level = monthly loan payments

              exceeding 8% of personal monthly income). 

          55% of African American student borrowers and 58% of Hispanic student

              borrowers graduated with unmanageable debt burden.

          Low income students with loan debt were 71% as compared to 44%

              for wealthy students.

          The average balance for student loan borrows was $20,104 on accounts

              with credit card companies and loan underwriters upon graduation.

          In 1976 the maximum award from a Pell Grant covered 84% of tuition costs

              at a four-year public institution; by 2002, the maximum award covers

              only 39% of these tuition costs.

          Studies show that wealthy families are shifting college costs from savings

              to student loans.

(source:  The Burden of Borrowing Report 2002)