Who Should Pay for College? According to Recent Survey, Teens and Parents Don’t Agree
Posted By Terri Williams on June 26, 2015 at 12:58 pm
Students: If you’ve been assuming your parents are going to foot the bill for your college education, you might want to double check to make sure you’re on the same page. According to the 2015 Teens & Personal Finance Survey, conducted by Junior Achievement and the AllState Foundation, many teens and parents don’t see eye to eye regarding responsibility for college costs.
Paying for college
- 48% of teens think that parents will pay for their college tuition
- 16% of parents say they will pay for their child’s college costs
These findings suggest that teens may need to put more effort into securing scholarships and grants – or they may be left with a large student loan debt load upon graduation.
However, it does appear that teens are becoming more aware of the financial costs of higher education:
- 32% of teens will consider attending a community college instead of a four-year college
Differing views on money management
Teens and their parents also disagree on a number of other financial matters. For example, most parents think they’re doing a good job teaching their kids about finance. However, teens don’t seem to concur:
- 89% of parents say their child learns money management from them
- 84% of teens say they look to their parents to learn money management
- However, 34% of parents do not discuss money with their children and let the “kids be kids”
When more than a third of parents want to shelter their children from money matters, it can certainly lead to uninformed teens making unwise spending decisions.
Financial gender gap
According to the survey, when parents do have financial conversations with their kids, they may be having them differently with their male and female children:
- 40% of girls say their parents don’t talk to them enough about money management, while only 24% of boys say their parents don’t talk to them enough about money management
- 31% of boys say their parents keep them on track with money, while only 20% of girls say their parents keep them on track with money
Both girls and their mothers are more likely to have lower earning expectations:
- 26% of mothers think their child will earn less than $15,000 a year at their first post-graduate job, while only 17% of fathers think their child will earn less than $15,000 a year at their first post-graduate job
- 24% of girls think they will earn less than $15,000 a year at their first post-graduate job, while only 16% of boys think they will earn less than $15,000 a year at their first post-graduate job
$15,000 a year is roughly $7.25 an hour – minimum wage.
Based on the survey results, teens are willing to learn money management skills. And in a best-case scenario, their parents would be their financial mentors. However, if parents are uncomfortable talking about finances, they should work with their teens to find other avenues, such as school programs, financial advisors or online sources that can provide education about personal finance before the subject of paying for college comes up.