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Over 80% of recent grads wish they were taught more life skills in college

Recent college graduates are finding solace in their hometowns to ease their financial stress, according to new research.



Recent college graduates are finding solace in their hometowns to ease their financial stress, according to new research.

According to a new survey of 2,000 recent American college grads, 30% moved back in with mom and dad and 31% opted to move back to their hometown for cheaper rent during the pandemic.

Thirty-two percent shared they also put off paying back their student loans as much as possible.

With all of the turmoil and stress over the last year from the pandemic, seven in 10 graduates said they’re feeling overwhelmed by their financial situation – with paying rent and their monthly bills topping the list.

Some of the top trends that impacted their financial perceptions included running out of money in their emergency savings or rainy-day fund (35%) and witnessing their parents losing their job (27%).

Respondents also experienced not having a good enough credit score to get a credit card or apply for a loan (30%) as well as get an apartment (28%).

Other financial stressors included paying for graduate school (43%), paying for additional certifications (41%), and having bad credit (39%).

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Experian Boost™, the survey found 81% of respondents agreed they wish they were taught more life skills before graduating college.

The top things pollsters feel left in the dark on included how to invest, long-term financial planning, and the best ways to manage their student loan debt. A further three in 10 regret not learning how to budget.

Nearly one in five (17%) college grads polled still don’t know how to cook or do their own laundry. Twenty-six percent are also feeling lost when it comes to basic apartment maintenance too – like unclogging a toilet or resetting a Wi-Fi router.

As if these struggles weren’t enough, 81% of those polled agreed the pandemic made it even more difficult for recent grads to find a job. 

Men were more likely to agree with this statement at 87% compared to 77% of female graduates – but this struggle did pay off for both sexes. Eighty-four percent of men and 78% of women surveyed are currently employed in their field of study from college.

It is not all gloom and doom as the survey found three-quarters (74%) of respondents are feeling hopeful about their future.

“Graduates should feel proud that they successfully navigated the past year and remain optimistic about the road ahead, especially as it relates to money,” said Rod Griffin, senior director of Consumer Education and Advocacy for Experian. “Getting educated about finances and how credit works is one of the best ways to protect your financial health and prepare for your future. We encourage recent grads and all consumers to practice smart money management and credit habits so they can have more financial options in life.”

The top things graduates felt confident about included their degree (50%), their financial security (50%), and their career path (48%).

Sixty-four percent are feeling optimistic about their financial future and believe they’ll have financial security in just six years.

To achieve this financial security, graduates are taking an active role in preparing for their financial future. 

The survey found that they have a good understanding of financial concepts such as credit scores (38%), investing (38%), and budgeting (42%). 

“For young people, in particular, it is common to have low credit scores due to short credit histories,” Griffin added. “But there are ways to quickly raise scores, with free tools available to aid Gen Z. They can immediately benefit from many financial resources as they embark on their new life and aim to secure things such as an apartment or buy a car.”


  1. Paying monthly rent/bills – 55%
  2. Paying for graduate school – 43%
  3. Paying for additional certifications – 41%
  4. Having bad credit – 39%
  5. Student loans – 32%
  6. Finding a job during the pandemic – 5%


  1. Put off paying back their student loans as much as possible – 32%
  2. Moved back to their hometown for cheaper rent – 31%
  3. Moved back to their parents’ house/apartment – 30%
  4. Opened a savings account – 26%
  5. Hired a financial adviser – 22%
  6. Invested what money they had saved up – 21%

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