Students Paying Their Own College Costs?

A piece in today’s Boston Globe indicates that high school students are willing to contribute to the cost of college:

A recent survey – the annual “College Savings Indicator’’ study by Fidelity Investments – found that parents of college-bound children in high school say they can cover only 11 percent of college costs, down from 15 percent in 2008. More parents (43 percent this year compared with 35 percent in 2008) say they will have to delay retirement to pay for college.

But they won’t have to do it all. A whopping 90 percent of graduating high school seniors, surveyed for the first time in the Fidelity study, believe they should pay for at least some college costs. Students are willing to explore many strategies for cutting expenses, including taking advance-placement classes in high school to finish college sooner and delaying college until they have saved more.

This indicator should probably be taken with grain of salt. There is a big difference between high school students saying they’re willing to pay for college and actually doing so. How much high school students can realistically earn to contribute to the cost of college?

Past reports have indicated that Advanced Placement credits are used by students mostly to improve college admissions prospects; colleges often limit the amount of AP credits students can apply toward graduation. And it’s long been known that students taking time off to earn money for college often don’t ever make it to higher education.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer