SIFE/Wells Fargo Poll Reveals College Students Optimistic About Getting a College Degree

More than 70% of Respondents are Confident that the Cost is Worth the Investment

WASHINGTON--()--Today, a new poll of SIFE USA members released by Wells Fargo, reveals that a majority of college students who have borrowed student loans are confident that the cost of college will be worth it, once they are in the job market. These findings support existing data indicating that college merits the investment. According to information released by the U.S. Census Bureau in February 2012, workers with a college degree earned nearly twice as much as those without one in 2009.

SIFE is an international non-profit organization that mobilizes college-enrolled, business-focused students to develop community outreach projects designed to improve the quality of life and standard of living of those in need. Of the student respondents, 44% attend a public 4-year college or university, 40% attend a private 4-year college or university and 14% attend a public 2-year community college. As a corporate sponsor, Wells Fargo works in partnership with groups like SIFE identify solutions to social, economic and environmental issues in communities where we work, live, and do business.

The study, released today coincides with the start of the SIFE USA Fall Student Leadership Conference September 28- 30 in Washington, D.C., shows that even in a tough economy, 71% of students who borrowed feel confident that the cost of college will be worth it upon entering the job market. Concurrently, 71% of students who borrowed believe that they will be able to repay their loans in the future and 78% of students would rather borrow money than not attend college. Approximately 59% of all of the respondents, including those who did not borrow student loans, indicated they plan to attend graduate school (at some time) in the future.

Although confidence levels about the future are high and include plans for graduate school, only 44% of all of the students indicate they and/or their family had a college financing plan, prior to entering college.

In particular, the 47% of students or families who did not plan for college financing were the most confident about the value of a college education in the job market, the desire to borrow rather than not attend school and their ability to repay. In addition, the survey showed this segment also ended up borrowing more money than those with a financing plan. Of all who had borrowed, 71% of the respondents indicated that the first year they or their parents borrowed a federal or private student loan was their freshman year.

“We’re glad to see that the survey shows students and families continue to recognize the value of higher education,” says Paul Dockry, senior vice president, Wells Fargo Education Financial Services. “However, it reveals that families who had a plan are more prepared and borrow less than those without a plan. This survey is another reminder of how important it is for families to plan for college. Whether the student is in elementary, middle or high school, it’s never too late to start.”

When selecting reasons for choosing a college, all respondents ranked ‘cost’ fifth. When paying for college, the survey showed students are using a combination of resources to cover the costs. Results show 60% of students are benefiting from grants/scholarships, 51% of students indicate they are borrowing federal or private loans and 35% indicate they are using their own income or savings. Although some 42% of students indicate they are relying on parent income/savings, only 13% indicate parents were borrowing money to help cover costs. The survey showed the more expensive the tuition, the more likely parents are borrowing to help cover costs.

About the Survey/SIFE Student Leadership Conference

The poll was distributed to approximately 22,000 USA based SIFE members and 1,494 online questionnaires were completed September 13 – 18. Some 82% of respondents included students from 4-year public or private colleges or universities and 14% were from 2-year community colleges. Some 93% of respondents are full-time students and 81% indicated they are Business/Economics majors. Full results are available online at WellsFargoCommunity.com

The release of the survey results coincide with the start of the SIFE USA Fall Leadership Conference September 28 - 30 that precedes the SIFE World Cup September 30 – October 2 in Washington DC. During the SIFE World Cup, teams from around the world will showcase the results of team outreach projects and compete for the 2012 SIFE World Cup title. Wells Fargo is a corporate sponsor of SIFE and the national sponsor for this year’s winning SIFE USA national team, Belmont University.

About SIFE

SIFE is an international non-profit organization that brings together the top leaders of today and tomorrow to create a better, more sustainable world through the positive power of business. Founded in 1975, SIFE mobilizes students around the world to conduct community outreach projects improving the quality of life and standard of living of those in need. There are active programs on more than 1,600 college and university campuses in 39 countries. For more information, contact SIFE USA at 417-831-9505 or visit www.sife.org.

About Education Financial Services

Wells Fargo Education Financial Services serves more than 1.9 million student and family customers in all 50 states and has been in the student lending business for 44 years helping customers make smart borrowing decisions to finance education. Education Financial Services provides customers with financial tips and tools to keep their finances on track while in school and prepare them financially for when they finish college. Wells Fargo markets its education products to colleges and universities, directly to consumers and through Wells Fargo Bank. As part of the organization’s commitment to education, during 2011 Wells Fargo’s community contributions included $68 million to 8,000 educational programs and schools across the U.S.

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.3 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 stores, 12,000 ATMs, the Internet (wellsfargo.com and wachovia.com), and other distribution channels across North America and internationally. With more than 270,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in America. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 23 on Fortune’s 2011 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy all our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially.

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Contacts

Wells Fargo & Company
Erin Downs, 515-222-8278
515-868-2246 (mobile)

Release Summary

A poll of SIFE USA members released by Wells Fargo reveals that college students who have borrowed student loans are confident that the cost of college will be worth it and confident about repayment.

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Contacts

Wells Fargo & Company
Erin Downs, 515-222-8278
515-868-2246 (mobile)