Costs spur more U.S. teens to delay or skip college

Fri Oct 8, 2010 4:31pm EDT
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By Lynn Adler

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - More than a third of U.S. teenagers would consider delaying or skipping college, an increase from last year, because of the high costs, according to a new study.

It showed that while more teens think a college degree is needed to get ahead than adults did when they were adolescents, fewer believe they can afford to continue their education.

"This is very concerning," said Stuart Rubinstein, of investment firm TD Ameritrade Corp., which conducted the poll. "A college degree is really necessary these days for someone who is on a path to have a good career and life-time earning potential."

While higher education costs have grown, so has unemployment among teenagers. U.S. jobless figures reached 9.6 percent in September, but 26 percent of teenagers aged 16 to 19 were unemployed, government data showed on Friday.

Teens are competing with adults who have turned to retail and fast food jobs after losing other positions, Rubinstein explained.

About 79 percent of teens see a degree as critical for their future success, down from 84 percent a year ago, but up sharply from 57 percent of adults who saw it as essential when they were teens.

But 36 percent of the teenagers said they would consider delaying or not going to college at all because of the expense involved, up from 31 percent a year ago.

But mounting costs are driving teens to save more of their money for college than adults did at their age.   Continued...