94% of high school students are likely to continue their education after high school

What factors do students and families consider when choosing a school? How do they save and plan to pay for higher education?

See how you compare to other families and get planning tips to help you reach your goals.

Read the research report
Read the adjunct research report featuring COVID-19 research
View the infographic

  #HowAmericaPlans

Higher education doesn't look the same for everyone

Students' higher education plans

 

graphic bar chart for how america plans 2020 depicting students' higher education plans in dark blue, cyan, and chartreuse.
Higher education plans

Top factors families consider when deciding on a school

Offers programs related to the student’s desired career or major (58%)

Location (52%)

Financial aid offer received (48%)

Total cost of degree (32%)

Creating a plan to pay for higher education is a family decision
78% of students have a role in creating the plan


Steps families have taken to plan
graphic bar chart for how america plans 2020 depicting steps families have taken to plan for college in dark blue, cyan, chartreuse, yellow, and coral.
graphic bar chart key for how america plans 2020 depicting steps families have taken to plan for college in dark blue, cyan, chartreuse, yellow, and coral.
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Planning tip

Use our free Scholarship Search tool to access more than 6 million scholarships worth up to $30 billion.

Look for scholarships

Slightly more than half of families (54%) have a plan for how to pay for higher education

light cyan icon coin stack and $28,389 dollars how america plans statistic stat savings

average saved by planners

light cyan icon coin stack and $14,999 dollars how america plans statistic stat savings

average saved by non-planners

Planners are 3x as likely to be confident about meeting the cost of higher education

stat statistic for 63% sixty three percent in dark cyan

of planners confident about meeting costs

stat statistic for 20% twenty percent in dark cyan

non-planners confident about meeting costs

90% of families have had a “college talk” but only two-thirds have discussed how they’ll pay

Higher education planning topics discussed

schools the student is interested in

scholarships

college prep or SAT/ACT prep

who will pay for education

total cost of education

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Planning tip

Our College Planning CalculatorSM can help you estimate college costs and build a customized financial plan.

Create a plan

High school seniors delay completing the FAFSA®, which may result in less federal financial aid

 

graphic for how america plans 2020. timeline of october 2019 to may 2020 showing key FAFSA dates (oct '19 it becomes available; by april 2020 only 61% of seniors had completed it)
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Planning tip

Get timely information about filing the FAFSA®.

Read our FAFSA® guide

Families are looking for more
financial literacy support

graphic percentage fill infographic for how america plans 2020 depicting how only half of students say their high school teaches basic financial literacy skills

Only half of students

say their high school teaches basic financial literacy skills, such as budgeting, using credit, and understanding interest

graphic bar chart for how america plans depicting how 89% eighty nine percent of parents want their students high school to teach financial literacy if it currently isn't

89% of parents

want their students high school to teach financial literacy if it currently isn't

Additional resources

Higher Ambitions: How America Plans for Post-secondary Education 2020 research report

Higher Ambitions Adjunct Report featuring COVID-19 research

Higher Ambitions 2020 Infographic

 

Join the conversation with #HowAmericaPlans
 

Ipsos conducted the Higher Ambitions: How America Plans for Post-secondary Education survey online, in English between Wednesday, January 8, 2020 and Friday, January 17, 2020.

Ipsos interviewed 1,503 parents with a high school student and 1,507 current high school students from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii.