Millennials, the most educated generation in America’s history, are starting to question the value of a college education. A COUNTRY Financial survey released Tuesday found that only 64 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds think college is a good financial investment, a steep decline of 13 points from last year.
The rising costs of tuition and the tough job market are inevitably casting those seeds of doubt among this traditionally optimistic and pro-education group.
With student loans looming over their heads, many Millennials wish they could turn back the clock and re-do their college education. Chanelle Schneider, a Millennial in Washington, D.C., says going to college on loans, rather than saving and paying cash for her education, was the “worst decision (she’s) made thus far in life.” Her only debt is student loans.
“Every time something good happens I’m beaten back by phone calls from Sallie Mae wanting money – money that I don’t have. Why don’t I have this money? Because I went to college with the assumption that I would graduate and get a job that would pay well enough to pay back the loans I took out,” writes Schneider on her blog, There From Here.
Schneider is not alone. Of the 37 percent of 18-29 year-olds who borrowed money to go to college, 59 percent have not paid off their loans, according to the COUNTRY Financial data.
This doesn’t mean all these Millennials are necessarily expecting too much money for an entry-level job their college education should land them. In many cases, they are struggling just to find an entry-level job.
Gen Y’ers, like Ty Unglebower in Maryland, say they didn’t expect to “walk up to (his) dream job, wave a degree at them, get hired and become rich and powerful.”
Unglebower explains in his blog, Too XYZ, that while he was wise to avoid that delusion, he wasn’t “wise enough to realize that all the time, expense and work to get a degree might not ever open ANY doors. And, it certainly did not for me.”
Consequently all these realizations are having an impact on how Millennials perceive other big financial decisions.
Three-quarters (78 percent) of Millennials, more than any other age group, who borrowed money for college say their education loans have had a somewhat or large impact on other big life decisions like marriage or buying a home. In addition, the number of young Americans who are unsure which is a higher priority–saving for retirement or saving for a child’s education–has jumped up 6 points since last year, to 17 percent.
In keeping with that statistic, the COUNTRY Financial survey found that more Millennials than Americans overall, 15 percent to be exact, don’t think parents should pay for any college costs.
That certainly doesn’t sound too much like a generation who thinks everything should be handed to them.
Actually it sounds like Millennials are figuring things out, although quite a few of them are indeed learning those lessons the very hard way.
About the Survey: The COUNTRY survey on college savings is based on a national telephone survey of 3,000 Americans and is compiled by Rasmussen Reports, LLC, an independent research firm. The margin of sampling error for this survey is approximately +/- 2 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.
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