MasterCard Student Transitions Survey
As children transition to adulthood, parents are most concerned about their child adapting to life on their own and maintaining good grades; one in five say tracking spending and staying out of debt concerns them most.
- 35 percent of parents say they are most concerned about their children adapting to life on their own and socializing.
- 28 percent of parents say they are most concerned about their child maintaining good grades.
- This is especially true for parents of high school juniors and seniors, presumably a result of the added academic pressure from college admissions. 34 percent report this is their number one concern, a proportion that is significantly higher than parents of upcoming college students (22%).
- 19 percent of parents report that tracking spending and staying out of debt is most concerning.
- 16 percent say that their child’s ability to stay healthy is their biggest concern.
Two-thirds of parents are worried about their child’s ability to manage money and spend wisely.
- 64 percent say they are somewhat or very worried.
- 16 percent say they are very worried.
- As students leave their parents’ supervision, concern appears to increase. Parents of college students are significantly more likely than those of high school upperclassmen to report being worried about their child’s ability to manage money and spend wisely (69% to 58%).
2 in 5 parents with children soon to head off to college believe their child will run out of money within one month.
- 40 percent of parents with an upcoming high school junior, high school senior or college freshmen say they believe their child will run out of money within the first month of going off to college before asking for more.
- Two-thirds of parents (67%) believe their child will run out of money in the first year of college.
- 8 percent believe their child will run out of money in the first week.
- 27 percent believe their child will run out of money in the second semester.
Parental tools like text alerts and the ability to freeze spending make parents feel more comfortable about their child’s ability to manage finances.
- 43 percent of parents believe that receiving text alerts when their child has made a purchase on his or her card would help them feel more comfortable.
- 35 percent report that having the ability to freeze spending on their child’s card increases their comfort level.
- 28 percent say having a web site that provides financial advice and tools for budgeting would make them feel more comfortable.
- Moms, in particular, are advocates for this tool. Almost twice as many moms (39%) than dads (20%) say it would make them more comfortable.
- 27 percent say a smartphone app that provides their child with financial tips or tools would make them more comfortable.
Parents express concern about their child’s ability to manage their credit ratings.
- 56 percent of parents say they are somewhat or very concerned about their child messing up their credit rating.
- One in five parents (21%) are very concerned.
- Parents rank their child messing up his or her credit rating as most concerning (28%) from a list that includes lending money to friends without getting paid back (20%), eating at restaurants every day (20%), sticking parents with a big bill to pay (17%) and taking trips without their parents’ knowledge (5%).
Debit and prepaid cards help ease parents’ fears that their child will get into serious debt.
- 38 percent of parents say debit cards, in comparison to prepaid cards (26%), cash (16%) and checkbooks (3%), give them the most peace of mind that their child will not get into serious debt.
The MasterCard Student Transitions Study was conducted among 310 parents with at least one child in college or a high school upperclassman (grades 11-12) (“children in transition to adulthood”). The online survey was sponsored by MasterCard and conducted by APCO Insight, an international opinion research firm from August 7-9, 2012. The survey has a sampling error of ± 5.6 percentage points at the 95% confidence interval. Sample frame was based on demographic information from the U.S. Census Bureau and data has not been weighted.