Attending college is a big achievement and an exciting time in one’s life. It can also be scary, especially when you consider that most students aren’t taught much about personal finance.

In order to learn more about college students’ preparedness and plans for increased financial independence, WalletHub conducted a nationally representative survey. We asked about everything from who students’ financial role models are to whether credit card debt or student loan debt scares them more. You can find the complete results in the infographic below.

Key Stats

  • 45% of students say credit card debt worries them more than student loan debt.
  • 59% of college students say their school is not doing enough to educate them about personal finance.
  • 1 in 3 college students think they’ll be worse off financially than their parents.

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Full Details Overall

Are you an authorized user on a parent’s credit card?
No 63%
Yes 37%
When did you get your first credit card account?
I don’t have one 33%
Freshman year 26%
Senior year 21%
Sophomore year 11%
Junior year 9%
How did / will you pick your first credit card?
Recommendation from a family member 55%
Credit card comparison site 20%
Easiest one to get 17%
Recommendation from a friend 7%
Celebrity endorser 2%
How would you describe your opinion of credit cards?
Neutral 36%
Positive 29%
Very Positive 16%
Negative 14%
Very Negative 5%
How would you describe your parents’ opinion of credit cards?
Positive 32%
Neutral 32%
Negative 15%
Very Positive 14%
Very Negative 7%
Do you think that you’ll be financially worse or better off than your parents?
Better 68%
Worse 32%
What is your biggest post-graduation fear?
Not finding a job 45%
Student loan debt 28%
Living with Parents 14%
Credit card debt 13%
What’s the best thing about credit cards?
Ability to build credit 46%
Convenience 17%
Extra money when you need it 16%
Rewards 14%
Fraud protection 7%
Which do you use more often?
Debit card 53%
Credit card 23%
Cash 20%
Other (Venmo, Apple Pay, etc) 4%
What type of credit card is best for a college student?
Low interest 31%
I’m not sure 21%
No annual fee 21%
Cash back 18%
Balance transfer 6%
Travel rewards 3%
What worries you more?
Student loan debt 55%
Credit card debt 45%
To what extent do you rely on your parents financially?
Partly 53%
Completely 30%
Not at all 17%
Was your education a good investment?
Yes 85%
No 15%
Has a parent’s debt negatively impacted you?
No 65%
Yes 35%
Is your school doing enough to educate you about personal finance?
No 59%
Yes 41%

Note: Percentages may not total 100% due to rounding.

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