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Survey Reveals Gen Zers (That’s You!) Worry Most about Affording College, Student Loans

Survey Reveals Gen Zers (That’s You!) Worry Most about Affording College, Student Loans

Survey of Gen Zers reveals some surprising facts on their economic and financial concerns.

By Kathryn Knight Randolph

June 21, 2012

Contrary to popular belief, Gen Zers are worried about more than their next Facebook Status Update or the latest YouTube sensation. In fact, they’re worried about the same things their parents are, according to a study by TD Ameritrade.

The study surveyed approximately 2,001 students between the ages of 13 – 22 as well as parents of students in the same age bracket. It drew responses from students and parents across the entire U.S.

Results showed that the major concern for students as it relates to today’s economy is jobs, specifically unemployment, and as it turns out, 25% of the parent audience shared the exact same concern. Amongst other top concerns, having their identity stolen, affording college and large student loan balances topped the list for Gen Zers.

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It’s also worth noting that 16% of those students surveyed weren’t concerned about anything, but when their parents were the same age, a whopping 37% weren’t concerned about anything either. This just shows that though it may not appear to be the case, Gen Zers are more conscientious of the financial strain of college costs than their parents might think and definitely more so than when they were that age.

To build on that point, the survey from TD Ameritrade asked students what they would do with $500. The majority, at 55%, said they would save it, with 11% specifying that they would save it for college. Conversely, though, 32% of respondents said they would spend it.

When it comes to higher education, 66% of the students said that they intend to or already are attending college. The majority claim that they’re expecting to pay for it with help from their parents as well as from scholarships, grants and fellowships. Also, 25% of students claim that they expect to pay for their education with student loans.

But when parents were asked how they intended to help pay for their children’s education, 44% said they would look to student loans. However, the majority, at 59%, believed that they are responsible for helping to pay for their child’s education. They are equally dependent, though, on scholarships, grants and fellowships to help supplement the cost.

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Of the parents surveyed, approximately 43% are still working to pay off their own student loans; however, 51% of parents, including those still paying their own loans, claim to be contributing to 529 College Savings Plans for their children.

Parents definitely have a more realistic grasp on college affordability and the likelihood of requiring student loans to pay for school, but Gen Zers have definitely proved that they understand the fiscal responsibility that comes with planning and preparing for college.

Are your thoughts and opinions on affording college and depending on student loans in line with the survey results?


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