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Citi and Seventeen Magazine today released findings from the 2013 College Student Pulse, a national survey of over 1,000 high school seniors and college students exploring the way students save, spend, and manage the finances of college life. The survey found that students are taking an active role in funding and managing the costs of college, with nearly 4 in 5 students working their way through school, and the majority using their own money for a number of college expenses.

Millennials and Their Money: How They Pay for College Life
  • Nearly 4 out of 5 college students are working while attending school, with the average student working 19 hours per week during the school year.
  • The majority of students (62%) have set a budget to keep track of their expenses, and 77% say they pay their own credit card bills.
  • Students are footing the bill for a number of their own college-related expenses:
Expense % of students who say % of students who say
they’re responsible for

their PARENTS are responsible for
      the cost    

the cost
Spending money     80%     15%
Clothing     71%     24%
Travel/transportation to and from school     59%     29%
Books     45%     25%
Computer/laptop purchase     45%     31%
Smartphone/phone purchase     45%     43%
Food     41%     35%
  • The only expense that parents are significantly more likely to pay is students’ monthly cell phone bills. 60% of students say that their parents pay their monthly cell phone bills, vs. 35% of students who pay it themselves.
  • The average student spends $513 on back-to-school shopping, and male students spend an average of $246 more than female students. College freshmen spend the most, spending an average of $678 on back-to-school purchases.
  • A number of different sources fund tuition and housing:
    • When asked who is responsible for covering the cost of tuition, 22% of students say that their parents pay; 18% of students pay it themselves; 16% say that a scholarship covers the cost; and 41% say that financial aid funds their tuition costs.
    • When asked who is responsible for covering the cost of housing, 30% of students say their parents pay; 31% students of students pay it themselves; 5% say that a scholarship covers the cost; and 15% say that financial aid funds their housing costs.

Students Grapple with New Financial Realities
  • The cost of college life takes students by surprise – 61% say that college is more expensive than they thought it would be.
  • Money-related issues top students’ list of biggest concerns while in school, above making friends (21%) and planning for professional/graduate school (41%) :

1. Getting a good paying job when they graduate (63%)

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