Paying for College

Graduate from College; Live at Home?

When my son and daughter graduated from college, all I could hear was the flapping of their wings as they couldn't wait to leave the nest, hit the road, and be gone forever. That was then; this now. Our daughter graduated in 1995, our son in 1999. Those were The Good ol' Days compared to These Days. That's why I wasn't terribly surprised to see this headline in a CNN news item:

Boomerang kids: 85% of college grads move home

How would you parents feel if your son or daughter had to move back in with you after college graduation because there was no job waiting to relocate them? In some very interesting comments about this issue, parents (and a few students) posted their reactions to the "85% move home" statistic on the College Confidential discussion forum. This one made me chuckle:

Well there's a huge TV-Home Cinema system occupying what was D[aughter]'s room. Next is S[on]'s room, it's going to be knocked through to make way for a full size snooker table and bar....

Whatever their Plan B aint here anymore!

"Hi, Mom and Dad. I'm home!" Yikes. Here's the scoop from CNN's Jessica Dickler:

Getting a degree used to be a stepping stone to limitless career opportunities. Now it's more of a hiatus from living under your parents' roof.

Stubbornly high unemployment -- nearly 15% for those ages 20-24 -- has made finding a job nearly impossible. And without a job, there's nowhere for these young adults to go but back to their old bedrooms, curfews and chore charts. Meet the boomerangers.

"This recession has hit young adults particularly hard," according to Rich Morin, senior editor at the Pew Research Center in DC.

So hard that a whopping 85% of college seniors planned to move back home with their parents after graduation last May, according to a poll by Twentysomething Inc., a marketing and research firm based in Philadelphia. That rate has steadily risen from 67% in 2006.

"It's peaking at levels we have not seen before," said David Morrison, managing director and founder of Twentysomething.

Mallory Jaroski, 22 graduated from Penn State University in May but has been living at home with her mother while looking for a job in press relations. "It's not bad living with my mom, but I feel like a little kid. I have a little bed, a little room," she says.

Jaroski thought she would stay for summer. But like many others, she's found her stay becoming significantly longer.

"There's almost an expectation that kids will move back home, there is no stigma attached," Morrison said. "The thought now is to move home for 6-12 months but in reality those young adults will be home for a year and a half or longer. Even if they have jobs, they are living at home."

Jessie Sawyer, 23, graduated in May of last year and moved back home with her parents while she looked for a job. She has since been hired as a writer for The Register Citizen, a daily newspaper in Connecticut, but has yet to move out of her parents' home.

"I'm trying to save up to move out," she said. But "the new job is 10 minutes from where I live so it's convenient."

Even though living with her parents comes with some rules and restrictions, Sawyer says that's a small price to pay for the comfort and convenience of home.

"My parents have been really supportive so if they ask me to do something like wash the dishes I feel like it's reasonable."

The job picture for recent grads may be brightening, however. Employers expect to hire 13.5% more new grads from the Class of 2011 than they hired from the Class of 2010, according to a new study conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

And that's good news beyond just employment. These boomerang years are "a life interrupted," Morrison said. "Time on the job is important and you won't get that time back."


As one parent on the College Confidential discussion forum so eloquently put it:

Let's be clear here. If my kid had a job, any job that paid enough to live on, even in a crappy place, he would be out and on his own. We both want it that way.

Do I hear a hearty AMEN! to that? Anyone?


Be sure to check out all my admissions-related articles and book reviews at College Confidential.