Current college attendees are carrying between $22,000 and $25,000 in student-loan debt, according to a report issued Tuesday by Citizens Financial Group.
Those students expect it to rise to $39,000 to $42,000 by the time they graduate.
Refinancing could lower their debt. But out of the 500 current students who were surveyed, 85% feel they lack enough information to refinance. Similarly, 76% of the 518 former students who participated in this survey feel they lack the proper education about the refinance process.
"The preparedness of the student to make sure the cost of what they're paying for equals the value that they want to get from it is a conversation that needs to happen more frequently across the country," Brendan Coughlin, president of auto and education finance at Providence, R.I.-based Citizens, said in a phone interview.
More than three-quarters of current students and two-thirds of former students wish they had someone to talk to about refinancing details, including questions about loan terms and periods and the sufficiency of their savings.
The study said that 74% of current students are concerned that they will not be able to pay off the loans. Additionally, 47% said they may not have gone to college if they knew the impact that college debt would have on their lives.
Citizens said last month that it had upgraded its education-refinancing product to enable college graduates to refinance federal student loans in addition to private student loans. Previously, the $130 billion-asset company only focused on refinancing private student loans. This product saved borrowers an average of $127 on their monthly payments and lowered their average annual percentage rate by 1.5%, Citizens said.
"The student loan industry did not exist in a way that we're used to with other products across the country. We're aiming to change that," Coughlin said. "We think you should be able to get a better deal to refinance."