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

The survey found that the number of Indiana residents who value higher education increased two points year over year to 89%. More than three-quarters of respondents were concerned about the average student loan debt in Indiana, and nearly half said they were very concerned.

According to INvestEd, 83% of Hoosiers responded to the survey that they would prefer to pay college with a percentage of their future income if given the option. Income Share Agreements have slowly become more popular with educational institutions, and Purdue University and the Indianapolis-based Coding School Kenzie Academy have implemented them in recent years.

“As we end the pandemic, Hoosiers are sending a clear signal that they value higher education but are increasingly concerned about affordability,” said Joe Wood, CEO of INvestEd, in a press release. “Our team is focused on helping Hoosiers maximize financial assistance and minimize debt. The net price and lack of support should never prevent education beyond high school. “

According to the survey, 89% of respondents said having access to free Indiana financial aid literacy resources is important to avoid taking out too many student loans. Additionally, 79% believe that Indiana cities and towns could gain a competitive advantage if they did more to help residents prepare for college and avoid student loan debt.

“Talent attraction, development, and connection require both a collaborative and a statewide approach,” said the Indiana Office of Career Connections and Talent Secretary Blair Milo. “Hoosiers recognizes the value of post-secondary education and its opportunities, and resources like INvestEd are available to help students and families with free grants.”

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