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Too Young to Stress College Debt

College is expensive; everyone knows that. And it isn’t getting any cheaper. Tuition all over the country is only increasing and so is the number of students stressed about it.

H&R Block recently put out a press release highlighting the amount of stress that teens have about finances. The survey that they conducted consisted of about 1,000 teenagers between 13 and 17 years old, focusing on the financial mind-set of young adults.

It was found that eight out of 10 teenagers are worried about finding a good job and 78 percent are already worried about their potential student loan debt.

These students are only in high school; some still in middle school. This means that the youngest of the students surveyed will not attend their first year of college until 2019, or five years from now.

Between the 2011-12 and 2014-15 school years – the length of an undergraduate bachelor’s degree – CCSU increased tuition by a total of 12.9 percent, a year-by-year average of just over three percent.

At that rate by 2019, when the youngest of those surveyed would be entering college, tuition would be increased by just over 16 percent and would potentially increase the four years they would be there.

There’s always the possibility that increases won’t be that much per year or even every year. And each college or university may handle the situation differently, maybe choosing to stop tuition increases.

Yet despite these possibilities, students are clearly still stressing about their future education that’s two to five years away. Though it is good for teens and young adults to learn about money and financial situations, this stress can be overwhelming. And since the youngest surveyed won’t even be working for a few more years, the stress they are facing is unhealthy.

H&R Block Chief Marketing Officer Kathy Collins believes that today’s economic realities are bringing not only stress but also pressure to people of such a young age. “Our survey shows 57 percent of teens use their own money on purchases, yet they often lack fundamental money management skills. The good news is, the research clearly illustrates a desire to learn.”

Managing money and planning financially is something that young teens should learn early on. However, the idea of being in debt over 10 years into the future shouldn’t be something a student just entering high school should have to be worrying about.

The survey showed that even though 97 percent of students still plan on going to college, a large majority (78 percent) worry about borrowing too much money in loans. Eighty-six percent of teens think it is more important than ever to choose a major that leads to a well-paying job.

From 2008-2012, national student debt at the time of college graduation had increased 6 percent, averaging at $27,000 per borrower. This will only increase as schools continue to increase their tuition on a nearly yearly basis.

Almost half of the older teens said that the determining factor of where, or if, they attend college will be the cost.

And even should they decide to make the commitment to higher education, the continued recession and general jobless climate in America, should it continue,  will make it increasingly difficult to find work after graduation.

The New York Times reported that college graduates have suffered the smallest unemployment rates of any section of the population. But those jobs often don’t require the college-level skills learned by the graduate. Oftentimes the jobs aren’t even related to what someone majored in.

What becomes clear is that something needs to be done about the rising cost of college tuition. As students are increasingly relying on these higher institution to land them future employment, it seems counterproductive to continue forcing them to saddle higher and higher levels of debt.