Millennials Rising...and taking the nation with them

Monday, December 15, 2014

The resources on the Millennials Rising website include discussion papers, articles, and graphics. The Millennials Rising chartbook is full of 'pin-worthy' images (the symposium graphic notes are incredible!), including the figure on student debt, above. I'm struck by the high percentage of Millennials who live at home with their parents. What do we know about how much this stems from changing cultural norms about 'launch' into adulthood, the financial constraints imposed by that high student debt, and/or parents' desires to subsidize their adult children's forays into independence? And does the downward trajectory in the past year reflect improving financial situations of young adults or just a natural decline from the peak?

Median net worth for households headed by an individual under 35 is only about $10,000, significantly lower than in 1989. Our research suggests that these limited asset stores will impair these households' ability to cushion against future economic shocks, save for the needs of the next generation, and catalyze the economic mobility that characterizes the American Dream. The critique of the current state of student indebtedness among Millennials should, for all of these reasons, emphasize asset approaches to financial aid. While much of our work on CSAs has focused on young children, we clearly need to be thinking about policy structures that would build and then protect asset stores for young adults, as well.

We look forward to continuing our partnership with New America around these and other issues. We can't count ourselves among the Millennial generation but certainly see much to admire among these younger cohorts. We recognize, too, that their fates largely determine our own.

If you are a Millennial, what's your reaction to the Millennials Rising site? What stories do you want to tell? What policy priorities drive your engagement in public life? What are your most pressing concerns?

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New Book Released

Today’s student loan system is in place because of a political compromise, and growing discontent with student debt may signal that this arrangement has run its course. While there are resources and organizations in place to help those struggling with debt, the time has come to consider a new direction for financial aid, William Elliott III and Melinda Lewis argue in “Student Debt: A Reference Handbook.”

Why KU
  • One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
  • Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
  • 44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
    —U.S. News & World Report
  • Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
  • 23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times