Those With Student Debt Wish They Could Turn Back Time According to New Citizens Bank Survey

Three in four wish they had done more to avoid being burdened by their undergraduate debt

PROVIDENCE, R.I.--()--An alarming three-quarters of Americans with student loan debt (74%) wish they had done more to minimize the burden of their student loans, according to research released today by Citizens Bank. In its new Student Lending Survey, Citizens found that many college graduates see this factor as preventing them from buying a house and planning the next phase of their lives.

Additional findings in the survey included:

  • 73% of millenials with student loan debt say that they have inherited their attitudes towards financial responsibility from their parents
  • 61% believe that their parents don’t have a full grasp on what paying for college is like today
  • 66% report that their student loans prevent them from saving as much as they’d like
  • More than half (53%) believe that discussing paying for college with parents earlier would have decreased the amount of student loan debt they incurred.

“As students and parents prepare for the college journey, thinking about how they’re going to pay for their education is overwhelming and is weighing on them,” says Brendan Coughlin, President/EVP of Consumer Deposits & Lending at Citizens Bank. “Students need to have a plan before they start their college career, weighing their financing options so they can choose the plan that best meets their needs.”

Citizens Bank’s Student Lending Survey found that the most common advice people with student loan debt would give to their younger selves about financing their education if they could have a do-over, includes:

  • Prioritize paying off student loans as soon as possible (43%)
  • Spend time to fully understand student loan options (41%)
  • Have more conversations on educational financing with experts (e.g., financial advisor) (33%)
  • Attend a less expensive college (29%)
  • Refinance student loans to get a lower interest rate (26%)

“Although the education financing process may seem overwhelming and stressful for students beginning their college journey, not fully understanding the impact of the college they choose and resulting student loan debt for life after graduation is far worse,” Coughlin said. “The Student Lending Survey clearly shows that many people wish they had more information and knowledge on the subject before making their financial decisions. At Citizens Bank, we work with student borrowers and their families at the front end of the college journey to develop a plan that helps manage their debt and meet their financial goals.”

Citizens Bank is a leader in student lending and the only national bank to offer refinancing options for both private and federal student loans to credit-qualified borrowers. On average, its Education Refinance Loan reduces a borrower’s student loan payments by $2,544 per year. In addition to its Education Refinance Loan, Citizens Bank offers numerous borrowing options for credit-qualified students, graduates, along with their families including the Citizens Bank Parent Loan, Citizens Bank Student Loan, and the Citizens Bank Student Loan with Multi-Year Approval.

Survey Methodology
A custom online survey was conducted among 504 American college graduates with student loan debt (Age 18-37: 57%, Age 38+: 43%) using the field services of ORC International. The survey was developed to generate insights on the past conversations college graduates may have had with their families about preparing to finance their education, their current comfort levels in discussing their student loan debt, and the educational financing advice/conversations they wish they had.

About Citizens Financial Group, Inc.
Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is one of the nation’s oldest and largest financial institutions, with $155.4 billion in assets as of June 30, 2018. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, Citizens offers a broad range of retail and commercial banking products and services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, large corporations and institutions. Citizens helps its customers reach their potential by listening to them and by understanding their needs in order to offer tailored advice, ideas and solutions. In Consumer Banking, Citizens provides an integrated experience that includes mobile and online banking, a 24/7 customer contact center and the convenience of approximately 3,200 ATMs and approximately 1,150 branches in 11 states in the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions. Consumer Banking products and services include a full range of banking, lending, savings, wealth management and small business offerings. In Commercial Banking, Citizens offers corporate, institutional and not-for-profit clients a full range of wholesale banking products and services, including lending and deposits, capital markets, treasury services, foreign exchange and interest rate products and asset finance. More information is available at or visit us on TwitterLinkedIn or Facebook.


Citizens Financial Group, Inc.
Rory Sheehan, 781-655-3931


Citizens Financial Group, Inc.
Rory Sheehan, 781-655-3931