The Millennial college student is struggling with the rising costs of college education. Year over year college costs soar, and our students across the nation are winding up with large increments of loan debt because of it. In fact, 2 out of every 3 students graduate with an average of $25,000 in student loan debt.
During the college years 75% of students hold jobs and (with a little help from mom and dad) pull in an average of $1,200 a month. Of that income, about 60% of it is spent on school-related expenses such as room & board, school supplies, and textbooks. Additionally, 90% of college students use credit cards to pay for school expenses. In fact, the average credit card balance for students after graduation is $4,000.
Learning about the spending habits of college students is important to understanding the challenges they encounter during their school years and long after as they begin paying back their debt. But is there anything college administrators and faculty can do about this financial struggle? The answer is yes; by understanding your students’ challenges and addressing them.
Adapting to the Millennial college student first requires understanding the challenges they are facing just to get an education. After you understand the landscape your students are navigating in, then you can address their concerns. Here are 3 ways to address your Millennial college students’ top concerns about college:
- Think critically about textbook options. Course materials are one of the most expensive parts about attending college, other than the tuition and room/board itself. Sometimes it’s even more of a struggle for students when they purchase a textbook that isn’t even used entirely. Fortunately, there are other options available that allow faculty more freedom to include any pieces of content that they want and they cost less for students. Consider all options for course materials and you may be surprised how many benefits come along for student and instructor.
- Help them make the most of their investment. We know that college is expensive, but there are ways that administration and faculty can really help their students get the most out of their investment. Providing more accessible options for career preparation and future planning resources can help students better equip themselves. In addition, teaching the way Millennial students learn is increasingly important. They have different learning styles than previous generations and because of this, they would benefit from faculty adjusting their teaching methods in most cases.
- Promote engaging classroom materials and lessons. Faculty can sometimes get stuck in a rut when it comes to classroom materials and lessons, but now has never been a better time to update and adapt. The Millennial college student learns in a different way than other students and they crave more interactivity and “game-like” activities. Additionally, they crave mobile and digital options since they are digital natives. They are more engaged by technological approaches to learning. If administration promotes this advanced culture of learning, Millennial students will excel.
The Millennial learner is a different type of student and therefore requires other teaching styles and techniques. By understanding their challenges and the way they learn, we can better address their concerns about college.
Attributions: "Amid the Stereotypes, Some Facts About Millennials" by Samantha Raphelson, npr.org. "College Student Spending Habits," nationwide.com.