Redefining the Classroom

Saving Money for College the Top Reason Students Work Summer Job

With the summer in full swing, many students are working to save money for college. It’s the primary motivator among 35.7 percent of teens as they take on summer jobs. And for 45.2 percent of 17-year-olds, college money is their number one goal.

That’s according to the 2006 Junior Achievement Interprise Poll on Teens and Summer Jobs. In past polls, “extra spending money” was the top motivator for teens working summer jobs. Now college costs have trumped disposable income as many students work hard for their money.

Among students 18-years-old and older, 66.6 percent expect to work 30 or more hours per week this summer. And of all surveyed teens 15-and-older, 86.3 percent anticipate that they’ll be working this summer.

What jobs do teens lean toward? Retail/sales jobs are in the plans for 27.5 percent and restaurant/fast food work is the choice for 24.2 percent. Other jobs in the top six percentagewise include babysitting/daycare, office/clerical, lifeguard/recreation and lawn care/landscaping, according to the Junior Achievement poll.

And close to 30 percent of teens expect that they’ll earn more than $7.50 per hour this summer. Every bit will help since, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, the cost of attending public college has risen 28 percent since 1993 while private college costs have increased by 25 percent (after adjustments for inflation).

Savings plans differ slightly for males and females. The survey showed that 39.7 percent of females are saving for college while 31.3 percent of males are doing the same.

So, as your student works hard this summer, let her know that she’s in good company! Saving for school is both a good habit and just a good idea.

Sources: Junior Achievement News Release, May 22, 2006; 2006 JA Interprise Poll on Teens and Summer Jobs,