Inside INdiana Business

Survey: Concern grows about pandemic effect on higher ed

(stock image courtesy: Pixabay/wokandapix)

CARMEL, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — An annual survey from Carmel-based INvestEd shows a growing number of Hoosiers personally value education beyond high school. However, the nonprofit says many believe the pandemic and subsequent economic downturn have pushed higher education further out of reach.

The survey says the number of Indiana residents who value higher education rose two points to 89% compared to the previous year. More than three quarters of respondents showed concern about the average student loan debt in Indiana with nearly half saying they are very concerned.

INvestEd says 83% of Hoosiers responded to the survey saying they would prefer to pay for college using a percentage of their future income, if they had the option. Income Share Agreements have slowly become more popular with educational institutions, with Purdue University and Indianapolis-based coding school Kenzie Academy implementing them over the past few years.

“As we exit the pandemic, Hoosiers are sending a clear signal they value higher education but are increasingly concerned about affordability,” Joe Wood, chief executive officer of INvestEd, said in a news release. “Our team is laser-focused on helping Hoosiers maximize financial aid and minimize debt. Net price and lack of assistance should never prevent education beyond high school.”

According to the survey, 89% of respondents said it is important to have access to free, Indiana-based financial aid literacy resources in order to avoid taking on too much student loan debt. Additionally, 79% think Indiana cities and towns could gain a competitive advantage if they did more to help residents prepare to pay for college and avoid student loan debt.

“Talent attraction, development and connection require both a community and statewide approach,” said Indiana Office of Career Connections and Talent Secretary Blair Milo. “Hoosiers recognize the value of postsecondary education and the opportunities it offers, and resources like INvestEd are available to help students and families with free financial aid guidance.”

INvestEd Vice President Bill Wozniak will appear this weekend on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick to talk more about the survey.