Salt Lake City UT. – As another school year draws to a close, a new survey shows a majority of high school juniors and nearly 40 percent of seniors say they are unprepared for managing and paying the cost of college.
Kim McGrigg, director of communication for Junior Achievement’s Rocky Mountain chapter, says parents and teens are not having critical conversations about the true costs of college, and many young adults only begin to realize the size and burden of repaying their student loans when they enter the workforce.
“We have an opportunity to educate our students today about what the cost of college will be, and what that looks like for their long term future,” she states. “And kids are saying that they’re interested in learning about that. So it’s really just a matter of connecting those dots.”
The survey commissioned by Junior Achievement USA found most high school students believe they haven’t done enough research on how to pay for college, and a significant majority have only talked to their parents once – if at all – about the issue.
For this year’s class of 2018, the average cost for private college was $35,000 a year, and more than $25,000 for out-of-state residents attending public schools.
McGrigg says attending a four-year college is the right choice for many students, but there are other paths young people can take to be successful. She points to the current shortage of skilled trade workers for jobs that require two-year degrees or specialty training.
McGrigg adds the Junior Achievement website offers a personality quiz that can help match students with potential careers.
“That’s the kind of conversation that needs to be happening when these kids are juniors and seniors, before they commit to paying $100,000 for a four-year degree,” she stresses.
Some 44 million Americans currently owe nearly $1.5 trillion in student loans. That’s $620 billion more than all U.S. credit card debt.
The average student debt in 2017 was more than $39,000. Students and parents interested in learning more about how to manage the cost of college can find resources at JAMyWay.org.
Eric Galatas, Public News Service