Two-thirds of teens are changing their college plans due to the recession, according to a new survey.
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The survey, by Junior Achievement and the Allstate Foundation, found that half of the teens polled said they are working more to pay for college and 42 percent now plan to attend college close to home.
Compared to 2010, more teens are working to pay for college (an increase of 9 percent) and planning to stay closer to home for school or not go to an out-of-state college (an increase of 5 percent). And nearly half of teens surveyed report that they are more concerned about the economy than last year, and 63 percent say their families are spending less due to the recession.
Despite the recession's changes to their lives, teens are optimistic about their hopes for the future: 97 percent of teens surveyed plan on going to college and 83 percent believe they'll be financially independent of their parents by age 24. Recent trends, however, prove these beliefs might be a bit optimistic. With economic recovery limping along, many Americans are still out of work and struggling, having to put retirement plans and college attendance for their children on hold.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of families with at least one unemployed member has nearly doubled from 6.3 percent in 2007, to 12.4 percent in 2010.
"Previous generations of youth have had the luxury of relying on their parents for not only emotional support, but also financial support as they go through college and enter adulthood," said Jack E. Kosakowski, president and CEO of Junior Achievement USA. "Now, with many families' financial situations in limbo, this support is strained. It's more important than ever to empower teens to own their economic success, and Junior Achievement can help them along that path."
College students often count on their parents to financially assist them while in school. And many young adults even rely on their parents as they enter the workforce, whether that entails help with car payments and cell phone bills, or moving back home to save money on rent. However, the recession has altered many parents' abilities to assist their children as they transition to adulthood, which has left teens worried about their options.
Even with these financial setbacks, 89 percent of teen respondents said they'll be as financially well-off as their parents. However, only three-quarters of teens think they are currently budgeting their money successfully, and a mere 39 percent think they are effectively using credit cards.
Ninety-two percent of respondents say they learn about money management from their parents, yet less than half (43 percent) discuss money management as a family. The likelihood that money management discussion occurs changes based on the teens' gender: 48 percent of males say their parents talk to them about finances versus 57 percent of females.
To help parents open up a dialogue with their children about fiscal responsibility, Junior Achievement, in partnership with the Allstate Foundation, has created new, free, interactive online lessons for all age groups, which complement existing classroom lessons.