Half Of College Graduates Have To Rely On Their Parents For Money

June 13, 2014 – By Abigail Bessler

Half of new college graduates are relying on their parents to give them money even though just 6 percent are unemployed, a recent study finds.

The study, from the University of Arizona’s Take Charge America Institute, tracked 1,010 students over five years and found that students are relying heavily on parents or partners for money.

Yet in the two years after students in the study graduated, around half said they had full-time jobs, 20 percent worked part time or were self-employed, 18 percent were studying at graduate school (with half working while studying), 7 percent weren’t seeking work, and just 6 percent were unemployed. So if most graduates are finding jobs, why are they depending so heavily on parents?

Part of the answer lies in student loan debt. A typical student is currently saddled with around $30,000 of loan debt, which can mean they need to borrow from others to send in monthly payments. A survey last year by American Consumer Credit Counseling, an organization that helps graduates repay debt, found that student loan debt surpassed credit card debt and forced 53 percent of respondents aged 25 to 34 to move back in with their parents after graduation.

But graduates are also relying on parents more because they are increasingly getting jobs that pay little and don’t require a degree. Recent graduates, especially black people and women, increasingly report being underemployed, with just a fifth saying their first job was on their career path. Working at a job where you’re over-educated has a cost: One paper found that each year in such a job would mean a 6.9 percent hit to your pay and a 2.6 to 4.6 percent hit to your future income over the next four years.