Building a Bright Future
Celebrating College Savings Month with Junior Achievement
Author: Kelsey Matzinger
Published: Friday, 29 Sep 2023
Image caption: JA plays a critical role in preparing young people for their educational journey.
The pursuit of higher education has long been heralded as a gateway to a brighter future, providing individuals with the knowledge, skills, and opportunities needed to achieve their dreams. However, the rising costs of college education have made it increasingly challenging for families and students to access this particular path to success. Enter College Saving Month, a dedicated time to raise awareness about the importance of saving for college and the critical role Junior Achievement (JA) plays in preparing young people for their educational journey and beyond.
The Cost of Higher Education
College tuition costs have been steadily rising for decades, often outpacing inflation rates. This has made higher education financially daunting for many. According to a survey conducted by JA and Citizens, financial concerns are top of mind in many teens, with 70% indicating worries about the costs associated with pursuing education after high school. To cope with high tuition costs, students often resort to taking on significant student loan debt, which can burden them for years after graduation. The financial burden of college can lead to stress and anxiety for both students and their families, potentially affecting academic performance and well-being.
The Role of College-Savings Month
College Savings Month, celebrated annually in September, serves as a platform to address these financial challenges and promote responsible college savings. It raises awareness about the importance of saving for college from an early age, encouraging families to plan for their children's future education. This month empowers families to take control of their financial future, reduce reliance on student loans, and create a more secure financial foundation.
JA's Impact on College Savings
By instilling financial literacy and responsible money management, JA equips students and their families with the tools they need to save for college effectively. Our emphasis on entrepreneurship encourages students to think creatively about funding their education, potentially opening doors to scholarships and entrepreneurial ventures, and through JA's career exploration programs, students gain a clearer understanding of their career goals, which can inform their choices when it comes to selecting a college and major.
According to our 2021-2022 Alumni Survey Report, a strong majority (82%) of JA Alumni agree they have a strong financial footing, and half of JA Alumni took out loans to pay for college (50%), and the average age reported for paying off their student loans is 30 years old.
Celebrating College Savings Month
Here's how you can celebrate this month with JA:
- Volunteer: Consider volunteering your time and expertise with Junior Achievement. By doing so, you can directly impact the lives of students and help them understand the value of saving for college.
- Donate: Donations can go a long way in supporting our programs and expanding our reach to more students. Your contribution can help create a brighter future for countless young minds.
- Advocate: Spread the word about JA and College Savings Month through your social networks and community. Encourage others to get involved and make education a top priority.
- Participate in JA Programs: If you're a parent, teacher, or school administrator, consider incorporating JA programs into your curriculum. These programs can complement College Savings Month initiatives and provide students with valuable life skills.
College Savings Month serves as a reminder of the importance of investing in education. It's an opportunity for families to assess their financial goals and plan for their children's higher education. Junior Achievement complements this mission by equipping young people with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in college and beyond.
By celebrating College Savings Month with us, we can empower future generations to reach their full potential. Through financial literacy, career readiness, and entrepreneurship education, we instill values that align with the goals of saving for college: financial security, career opportunities, personal growth, and the legacy of education. Together, we can create a brighter and more promising future for our youth.