Teenagers say graduating from college is highly important, but teens and their mothers worry about the price tag, according to a report released this month by Ascend at the Aspen Institute.
Researchers for report “Voices for Two-Generation Success: Seeking Stable Futures” conducted focus groups with married and single mothers, teens and preteens this summer to get their thoughts on the importance of education and the affordability of college, as well as on barriers to success, community support and other issues.
Teenagers expressed economic anxiety over their future. Almost all of the older teens said they worried about affording college and knew many people had high debt and student loans. Some said their parents will contribute financially to their educational pursuits. Other teens said they may take out loans or work while in school. Despite concerns, teenagers believe a college degree leads to financial security and success. “Because nowadays you need really a college education to have a steady job that could support you,” a preteen boy from Denver said in the report.
Mothers also said a college education is important for their children and allows them to have a career instead of a job and to work on a passion rather than trying to make enough money to pay bills and get by. “Go all the way in school,” a low-income mother from Denver said in the report. “All the way… It is probably the strongest foundation you can ever have. People can take your money, they can take your house, your car, but you will always have your education to fall back on.”