Unexpected Debt

8 Facts Parents Need To Know

Fact 1: There’s an epidemic of grade inflation and unearned A-grades in American high schools

Over the last two decades, high school GPAs have risen considerably while SAT scores have fallen. To the researchers behind the study, the conflicting trends indicate schools are engaging in ‘grade inflation,’ or the practice of artificially lifting students’ grades by lowering standards for awarding A-grades.”

“By 2016, the rate had increased to 47%. Meanwhile, the average SAT score fell from 1026 to 1002 on the 1600-point scale.” Business Insider Headline: Chris Weller, Jul 18, 2017 10:58 AM

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Fact 2: High grades in high school are based on very little study

One Major Student Stumbling Block: Being Self-sufficient
  • Most high schoolers study less than an hour a day.1NEA Research Spotlight on Homework, reporting on the Brooking Institution and Rand Corporation research.That’s why some educators rightly call it grade “inflation.”
  • When asked, teachers say just studying a single subject should take far more time than an hour.  
  • Only 20% of high school students study more than 20 hours in a week.
Why Study & Homework are Important?
They help students grow personally.
The Skills involved?
  • Take the initiative to get the work done.
  • Grow in responsibility
  • Work independently
  • Develop self-discipline
  • Use time well
  • Expand learning tactics
  • Share their work with parents, “Presenting information,” too, is a way of learning.
Two related findings parents should know:

Digital Devices

Daily, Americans can spend as many as 9 hours on digital devices. Some observers have termed it a “compulsion” in the true psychological sense of the word.2Nauert Rick, Phd., Compulsive Cell Phone Use Similar to Other Consumer ‘Addictions,’ psychcentral.com/news/compulsive-cell-phone use-similar-to-other-consumer-addictions/48303.html. updated 8 Aug 2018

The Damage of Interruptions to Thinking (cell phones, etc.)

Every time a student is interrupted by anything — a text, a tweet, a phone call, etc. — the time it takes to get back “on track” is 23 minutes and 15 seconds. It’s that “where was I?” feeling. Often, many adults never reclaim exactly what they lost, according to Interruption Science specialist, Gloria Marks, The University of California, Irvine.

Fact 3: During the last 2 decades, SAT scores have fallen

Why? Not enough study

Fact 4: Only 1 in 3 college students get their degree in 4 years

Traditionally, the American Council of Education and the University of California-Los Angeles Higher Education Research Institute have released 4- and 6-year graduation statistics, in the Chronicle of Higher Education.3Source: February 2018, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

  • As of 2019, college 4-year graduations will no long be tracked.
  • Statistics are now being measured only in 6-year increments.4Source: February 2018, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Most new college students will continue to fall into the 6-year category. So college debt is rising — often with no degree to show for it.

Why? Students can’t or lack the motivation to handle the work.

Fact 5: We now rank 6th among “the most educated countries” in the world5Source: February 2018, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development

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Another Fact: Today the U.S. ranks 13th in the world in the “proportion of the population” with degrees, behind countries such as Canada, Russia and Lithuania.

Fact 6: Currently Americans owe more than $1.48 trillion in student loans


That surpasses the U.S. credit card debt!

Keep reading. There’s more.

  • On average, just 58% of students who started college in fall of 2012 had earned any degree six years later.
  • Over time, 6-year graduation rates have consistently outnumbered 4-year grad rates
    by 2 to 1.

*National Student Clearing House Research Center.

Fact 7: What’s wrong? Dealing with newfound independence and greater academic demands

Given the little time students spent on study in high school and their very high grades…  college freshmen are expecting things to continue as usual. Not so.  

College is very different. By mid-October, many students are hopelessly behind. Mid-term grades are a shock. Students don’t know what’s wrong. This has never happened before!

Not nearly enough study is the BIG problem. It stems from these “typical” student thoughts …

  • This is great. No one to “nag” me about what to do.
  • I don’t want to study now. I’ll do it later. (But assignments begin piling up…) The student falls further behind.
  • I’ve got all that out-of class time — hang out in the union or find a study place?
  • Play computer games or get that research done? Go to bed or join the festivities down the hall?
  • Not getting enough sleep… too much going on.
  • Cut that 8:00 a.m. class to sleep in — again?
  • Whoa! How can that paper be due next week?
  • Cramming” for tests isn’t working. Now what?
  • “That test wasn’t fair. I didn’t know half that stuff.”

College is very different. The majority of high school grads cannot meet the challenges of being on their own. So many students over-use their “new-found” freedom. They think college is the same as high school — only away from home. It’s not. They won’t get the same grades from little work.

Remember: Students haven’t had these problems before. They don’t know what to do.

​It’s sort of like Aesop’s fable of the Carefree Grasshopper and the Busy Ants.
Not using out-of-class time to “work” prevents graduation and causes lots of added debt brought on by low grades, dropped courses, re-taking these courses, changing majors, etc. Handling new-found freedom is a Very Big Deal. Says Dr. Bob: “Students don’t have the foresight to see how seemingly unimportant, everyday decisions create major (very expensive) problems down the road.” Semester after semester.

Common Sources of Added Debt

  1. College expects about 30 hours a week for a typical course-load of 15 credits. (Calculated by at least 2 hrs. for each course. New college students think that’s unbelievable! They’ve always gotten excellent grades on far less study. (*Brookings above)
  2. The great majority of high school study tactics are not advanced enough to handle readings efficiently and retain the knowledge.
  3. Cramming — the old habit that served them so well in high school — doesn’t work in college. There’s too much material to cram. But students keep trying to cram. It’s all they know how to do.
  4. In high school, there are many papers and tests to bring up low grades. Not so in college. Fewer Grades? Each carries a lot of weight. Whoa! That D you got on a paper counts 40% of your grade. Now what? Drop the course? The debt begins.
  5. Dropped courses must be retaken. Parents pay twice for the course. If the course is a requirement for future courses, the student is stalled. He/she must wait for the course to be offered again in another semester. The student falls behind in graduating on-time.
At public colleges/universities – typically 33% of full-time students have graduated in 4 years.6cappex.com (Federal Government)
At private colleges/universities– 52% percent have graduated in 4 years.7cappex.com (Federal Government)

Fact 8: We have seen it coming:  Now the numbers are here

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Because College Smart® Students know what to expect — they have the Know-How to Succeed.

College Smart® Students know exactly what to expect — and how to handle it.

They get how destructive the “I’ll do it later” philosophy is. They’ve seen it play out in my Get College Smart® book.

What else do College Smart® students know?

  • what it means to “jumpstart” the semester
  • applying College Smart® efficient study tactics
  • how to keep pace with learning — cramming fails
  • knowing the difference between study vs. homework
  • ways to organize a semester
  • smart and efficient tactics for test-taking
  • the great advantage of talking to teachers, advisors, specialized offices
  • paying attention to health: particularly sleeping and eating
  • tracking grades throughout the semester is so important – no surprises
…Yet they still take advantage of the full college experience: study, friends, sports, organizations.