College acceptance season is one of the most exciting times in a teen’s life. Students will rip open university marked letters searching for the one word that will change their future – congratulations. With that one word, teens will become overwhelmed with the excitement of their new-found independence and freedom.
Yet, what most students don’t think of when they come across “congratulations” is understanding the best way to manage college expenses. In a recent survey conducted on behalf of Junior Achievement USA and Citizens Bank | Citizens One, large portions of high school juniors (52%), high school seniors (39%) and even college freshman (34%) reported being unprepared for the cost of college.
In fact, most of the teens surveyed stated that they had not done enough research on how to pay for college, and many had not talked with their parents about their financial options.
"It's no wonder that kids feel vulnerable," said Jack Kosakowski, President, and CEO of Junior Achievement USA. "As a community, we are not doing enough to educate young people to make smart, sound decisions so they are confident and secure in the choices they make that impact their lives so dramatically."
Bringing Awareness to College Costs
When high school juniors and seniors were asked about the costs of college, the majority responded with “I don’t know.” Other teens admitted that they had not done enough research on HOW they can pay for college. In fact, only 8 percent of college freshmen surveyed provided an accurate answer when asked how much in-state tuition for a public four-year college cost.
With the staggering perception of college costs, most can agree that students need to seek more information to the costs associated with higher education.
While some teens may seek information from their parents, they also look to their high school staff, college websites, friends, college fairs, social media and financial websites or financial organizations to discover the costs of college, according to the survey.
Brendan Coughlin, president of consumer deposits and lending at Citizens Bank stated, "It's clear that more needs to be done to help equip students with the tools necessary to minimize student debt and help students make more informed decisions on what loan is best for them," said Coughlin. "We're helping our young people understand how to make smart financial decisions so they can pursue their studies and begin their careers after college on sound financial footing."
As most can agree that college is an exciting time in a teen’s life, it should also be a time when they begin to understand how to budget and save and how they can afford their college endeavor.
To uncover more findings from this Junior Achievement and Citizens Bank | Citizens One survey, and to find resources to help your teen plan for his or her future, click here.