Doesn’t it feel like just yesterday your baby was born? Days were spent taking naps, playing in the mud, jumping in leaves, learning the ABC’s and reading bedtime stories. Money went towards diapers and swing sets, and whatever was left over was placed in savings for college.
Eighteen years went by pretty quickly, didn’t they? Are you wishing you had stashed a little more away?
Today’s statistics for college graduates aren’t pretty. With just a few weeks left before the class of 2012 tosses its caps, many parents are beginning to panic just as much as their children. Not only are their loans weighing on the family’s shoulders, but those vacant bedrooms may soon be full again. Just when you were getting used to an empty nest, your little birdies may soon be frequenting their old stomping grounds a bit more permanently than you had thought. A recent Time magazine survey found that 85 percent of new college grads move back in with mom and dad (up from 67 percent in 2006).
The Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., last month hosted an event, “Why Am I Still Living In My Parent’s Basement?” where Alex Schriver, the national chairman of the College Republican National Committee, said, “18 percent of youth are unemployed, a number that is more than twice the national average, and graduating student-loan debt has reached record-breaking highs of more than $22,000.”
$25,250 to be exact, according to a National Public Radio. It cited the outstanding student debt at around $1 trillion.
Which part of the country has the highest student debt? Yes, you guessed it. The great and grandiose cherry blossom District of Columbia. CNBC’s special program, “Price of Admission: America’s College Debt Crisis” stated that 67 percent of students leave college with debt and among the highest are of those who attend American University (averaging $36,206 of debt).
So, what does this all mean? When students leave college with such a large amount of debt, they may not shoot for the stars to be the next Barbara Walters or Mark Zuckerberg but settle in to a small office position or retail shop just to pay the bills.
Founder of the Young Entrepreneur Council, Scott Gerber, said that just 54 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds actually holds jobs right now. He says Generation Y has been labeled lazy, but it isn’t necessarily the only reason why many are crawling back home. “The cards are also stacked against them,” he said. “They are going to college and getting a degree that doesn’t equate to anything. More college grads are unemployed than ever.”
Not only are they jobless, but Paul Conway, president of Generation Opportunity, said that 77 percent of today’s youth will also delay a major life decision — such as buying a house, saving for retirement or getting married — because of their debts.
The lack of jobs after graduation, Conway says, is the reason for this delay.
“Graduates are not the first to be hired when the job markets begin to improve,” notes Rick Raymond of the College Parents of America. “We’re seeing a shocking number of people with undergraduates degrees who can’t get work.”
Three million young men and women are expected to graduate from college this year, according to a poll by researcher Twentysomething Inc. Time magazine says these graduates will face a double-digit unemployment rate for their generation.
Such statistics confront both you and your children. Perhaps it is time to remove the boxes you began storing in their rooms upstairs and continue to be a supporting shoulder for them when they move out of their independent college apartment where dreams and aspirations once ran rampant and move back home under the roof where rules and chores will once again be assigned.
My grandfather always says the one thing no one can take away from you is your education. Whether there is a job out there for your child immediately or not, their time in college was not worthless and there will be something to come of it in the future. Allow them to grab the reins, hold on tight and continue to dream, because the mind is a terrible thing to waste.