National Poll: Economy Forcing Teens to get an Education in Downsizing College Plans

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Junior Achievement/Allstate survey takes teen pulse on personal finance.

On May 1st, high school students will send their tuition deposit checks to the college of their choice, but many students have had to change their plans due to the economic downturn. According to the results of the 2009 "Teens and Personal Finance" Survey conducted by Junior Achievement and The Allstate Foundation, the economy is causing many teens to rethink their college plans. The Teens and Personal Finance Survey attempts to gauge the attitudes and behaviors of teens relative to personal finance concepts such as saving, spending, investing and wise use of credit.

The survey's key findings include:
•More than half of teens surveyed (55 percent) said their college plans had changed due to the economy.
•More than a third (37 percent) said they would attend college in their home state to save on tuition costs out of state.
•Nearly a third (32 percent) said they were working more to pay for college.
•Eighteen percent said they were going to attend a community college instead of a four-year institution.
Demonstrating that students already in college are feeling the economic pinch as well, a recent Sallie Mae study showed that up to 30 percent of students who used credit cards for tuition, books and other direct college expenses last year charged an average of $2,200, up from $942 four years ago--an increase of 133 percent. The study suggests that students are using credit cards instead of other types of financial aid, including grants and private loans. And, recent reports suggest that many college graduates are entering the workforce saddled with more college debt than they can realistically expect to repay, given the current job market. According to a Web site specializing in financial aid, the average cumulative debt among graduating college seniors is about $22,500.

Jack E. Kosakowski, president of Junior Achievement USA, commented on the Junior Achievement/Allstate survey results, "Regardless of the economic climate, teens need to understand and be able to apply basic money management skills--such as budgeting, saving and investing--so they can make appropriate financial decisions, including around how to pay for college. Junior Achievement infuses age-appropriate financial literacy concepts throughout our K-12 curricula so that students learn how to make wise money management habits from the start."

Junior Achievement and The Allstate Foundation have partnered to create personal finance teaching tools that parents can use to talk to their children about the importance of learning and using sound money management skills--including how to pay for college. The twelve lessons are downloadable free of charge at

The 2009 Teens and Personal Finance poll was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation the week of February 23, 2009, and surveyed 1,000 U.S. teens ages 12-17 via telephone. Its margin of error is +/- 3.2 percent.

About Junior Achievement® (JA)
Junior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. Through a dedicated volunteer network, Junior Achievement provides in-school and after-school programs for students which focus on three key content areas: work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy. Today, 137 individual area operations reach more than four million students in the United States, with an additional five million students served by operations in 123 other countries worldwide. For more information, visit

About The Allstate Foundation
Established in 1952, The Allstate Foundation is an independent, charitable organization made possible by subsidiaries of The Allstate Corporation. The Allstate Foundation strives to make our communities and our nation a better and safer place to live through partnerships with non-profit organizations promoting "safe and vital communities," "tolerance, inclusion, and diversity" and "economic empowerment." Teen safe driving and building financial independence for domestic violence survivors have been priority issues for the Foundation since 2005.


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Stephanie Bell
Junior Achievement
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