Pandemic pressure sends some college grads home to parents, but a study shows signs of hope

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Posted at 8:40 PM, Aug 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-04 21:40:07-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — College grads face some tough decisions after school and now one survey suggests students are paying much closer attention to their finances than they have in the past.

The nationwide study from credit reporting company Experian surveyed more than 2,000 recent grads from around the country. They found that 30 percent of grads claimed to have just moved back in with their parents and about 31 percent at least moved to their hometown for cheaper rent.

Paige Hoelscher is a recent college graduate and was already taking classes online this Spring. She went home for spring break and never went back.

“I lived close to home. A lot of my friends and family were back home so it made a lot more financial and just life sense that I could be closer to people I could actually see,” Hoelscher said.

She says many of her friends are still on the fence about signing new leases, knowing the financial pressures that come with another pandemic shutdown.

Meanwhile, people like Madison Hanenburg decided to bet on themselves and their careers. The Seattle native has one more year at Belmont University but already plans on staying. She’s studying music business and says what better place to do just that than Music City?

“Nashville still has that hometown kind of smaller feel and LA and NY are way too expensive at this point,” Hanenburg said.

Hanenburg now has two jobs for what she expects will be an expensive transition out of school and into the “real” world. Rent is now more expensive than when she first began her degree and that means every dollar counts. Not that the thought of going back home doesn’t cross her mind.

“Going into this year I knew I needed to start making money and being accountable for myself. At the end of the day, my parents have been super supportive of me. I know that they will have my back if I need it,” Hanenburg said.

Rod Griffin works for Experian as the Sr. Director of Consumer Education and says while some take their talents elsewhere, for now, they return much more prepared for the jobs offered.

“What they’re telling us is that may be something they need to do initially, but they’re getting out on their own. They’re taking steps financially to improve their situation,” Griffin said.

46 percent of grads say they’re checking their credit scores more often and 44 percent are paying off credit card debt sooner than they may have expected. About 20 percent say they’ve considered investing their money.

“When I was fresh out of college, investing was not something I thought about at all. So they’re looking at investing and how to be more financially successful over time,” Griffin said.