Studies suggest college students more prepared to handle finances - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Studies suggest college students more prepared to handle finances

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There's a new generation with a new attitude about money. We found several new studies and surveys that suggest in spite of rising costs, college students and graduates feel better prepared to handle their finances. While there isn't necessarily more money available, they are taking on more personal living and college expenses than ever.

Students in Cape Girardeau say while the economy makes it tough to handle the burden, money is on their minds all the time. They say because their parents often didn't have the means to pay for the total of their college education, they heard a lot about being prepared long before they went off to a university.

"My parents told me from the beginning they will support me if necessary but I am on my own now," said Mackenzie Hooker. "I need to support myself because they won't be there forever."

Like many students, Mackenzie Hooker says she learned the value of a dollar early. She says students today are less frivolous, and more thrifty.

They are taking on more payments than ever including rent, and student loans. At Southeast Missouri State University, 57% of students pay their own way.

"I was jealous of people who got everything paid for at first, I was angry," said Mackenzie. "But now I think I'm more prepared and I'm thankful I had to be. My parents raised me this way, I think they wish they could have helped more but with the economy and everything that happens that just wasn't possible"

Mackenzie works at the University Foundation on campus to make a living while she's in school. You'll often find her monitoring her budget online through her phone.

"Starting a budget was not something that was easy to do," said Mackenzie. "I was good at spending all my money, but I have to budget when my car payment is due what my paycheck is going to be."

Mackenzie says she's already focused on getting a job to handle her student loan debt when she graduates.

"I want to get rid of those student loans as soon as possible," said Mackenzie.

Meanwhile, at work nearby you'll find another senior, Ally Campbell. She says her parents preached financial security long before she went to school.

"If I did not have those scholarships I do not know where I would be," said Campbell.

Because of those scholarships, Ally will graduate only $4000 in debt. Meanwhile, she is among a growing number of college students who say they are responsible enough to handle a credit card.

"I'm pretty lenient," said Ally. "But I always try to make above the minimum payment."

Advisors on a national and local level say more students are defaulting on their loans. However, at the same time advisors feel students are more committed to paying them off quickly and working out a plan of action instead of letting the debt get out of control.

Another report out Wednesday suggests college students are finding themselves overqualified, and stuck in limbo.

Since 2010 from age 18-24, almost half are unemployed and say they've taken a job they didn't want or feel overqualified in their current position.

Many more are moving back home with their parents. For many, a solution is moving straight into a Master's Degree program and waiting for better economy and hiring times.

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