Chapman students are just as divided as the 15 to 26-year-olds surveyed by Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and MTV on their hopes for the future.
Respondents to the poll were almost equally split between those who thought they will eventually be better off than their parents financially and those who doubted they would be able to attain their parents’ standard of living or would wind up in similar financial situations as their parents. Chapman students are similarly split in terms of their future expectations for prosperity.
This optimism discrepancy has many factors: the degree of affluence experienced growing up, their chosen major and career path, and whether they are likely to graduate with buckets of debt.
Senior psychology major Samantha Ransom’s undergraduate degree is fully funded by her grandmother. Yet, she doubts the income she will make as a forensic psychologist will be enough to sustain a family.
Ransom is aware her chosen profession may come with financial challenges, but she has another source of income in mind to help her afford the lifestyle she wants.
“My plan is to hopefully marry someone who has more money than I do because I will not be able to substantially sustain a family with the income I am making,” Ransom said.
Students in the humanities understandably appear less certain that they will exceed their parents’ standard of living. Students going into more lucrative industries have more confidence that their financial futures will be sunny.
Alex Krantz, a sophomore business and English major, said he is “super optimistic” about his financial future. He plans to become a lawyer, like his father. He has his undergraduate tuition paid for by his parents and expressed that his optimism is derived from his parents’ financial support as well as the example set for him to pursue a well-paid career by his father.
“If your parents make a decent amount of money then you have the platform to make more money,” Krantz said.
Students who have financial help in their undergraduate education enjoy a stunning advantage in getting a financial toehold in adulthood. Free from monthly debt service payments, they can instead focus on saving, pursuing home ownership and taking their next career steps.
With the average student debt racking up at $29,669 for the class of 2016, according to financial aid expert Mark Kantrowitz’s data, going to college can be a blessing and a curse.
Noah Orvis, a sophomore environmental science major, is putting herself through college with money she has saved since she was fifteen. Her mom is a veterinarian technician and her dad is not in her life. Even with a generous amount of financial aid, Orvis will graduate burdened with $40,000 in student loans.
“Hopefully I am able to get a job that can help me slowly pay off [my] debt,” said Orvis. “I don’t want to try and base my education on that [being financially better off than her parents] because it would stress me out too much.”
Orvis is uncertain that she will be better off than her parents and finds it interesting that this generation already has that thought in mind.
Though her situation will leave her in a financial bind, Orvis believes the poll has some truth for students at Chapman whose parents have money.
“Someone in a lower income family might know they are definitely going to do better than their parents because they can go to college,” she said. “But if your parents are both doctors, to say that you’d do better than them, might be hard to gage.”