When estimating the total resources available to pay for college, families should consider the student’s ability to earn and save over each summer.
Q & A
What is a reasonable expectation for student summers earnings?
It depends on where you live.
How easy is it to find summer work where you live?
In some places it is very easy for teenagers to find full time summer employment and in others it is very difficult.
What is the number of weeks available for work?
For most rising freshman the summer break between high school graduation and the start of college is relatively short. The senior year often ends in mid to late June and college orientation begins as early as mid August at some schools. After accounting for family vacations there may be only 6-8 viable work-weeks in the first summer.
The summer breaks are longer once college begins since the spring term often ends in early to mid May and there is no orientation program before the fall term. As a result, many students can work for 12 weeks in the summer.
What is the prevailing wage?
Will you be earning minimum wage or can you find a higher paying job?
Will you be able to save most of your earnings for college expenses?
When you are living at home, you can save most of your earnings . If you are not living at home, which might be the case for future summers, you will have to account for living expenses.