Grim Outlook for College Grads: By the Numbers

Victoria Page, Staff Writer

It doesn’t look like college students are destined for success in the state of Connecticut, especially if they want to stay here. Recent graduates who want to stay in Connecticut can’t expect to see a return on their educational investment anytime soon. Individual situations and industry salaries vary, but most students shouldn’t plan on going on vacation soon. Based on statistics for the average newly employed college graduate in Connecticut who is living modestly, here are some sobering numbers:


The average starting salary for 2018 college graduates. This number is based on a study by consulting firm Korn Ferry that compared the salaries of 310,000 entry level positions nationwide.


After taxes in Connecticut, this is about how much recent graduates can expect to take home each month. Then come the bills.  


This is the Fair Market Rent (FMR) cost for a basic two-bedroom apartment in Connecticut, according to a 2018 report on rental affordability by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. The FMR is an estimate of what someone should expect to pay monthly for a modestly priced rental. Based on the same study, a person renting in the Stamford-Norwalk metropolitan area would have to make $38 per hour to avoid spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing. That is more than a person would have to make to rent by the same standards in the entire state of Hawaii. That makes the Stamford-Norwalk area the most expensive in the entire country.  


The average student loan debt of college graduates in Connecticut, $38,510, is also the highest in the country. According to the Institute for College Access and Success, this is what graduates who went to school four years can expect as their monthly loan repayment, which starts six months after graduation.


The average monthly payment for used cars in 2018.


This is what the average person under age 25 spends on groceries per month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey.


The average monthly payment for car insurance for residents in their 20s, according to a 2019 study by Zebra, a company that compares car insurance rates across the country.


The average cell phone bill for a smartphone, according to the 2019 Consumer Reports comparison.


What’s left.

This is the take home after paying pretty standard bills. This is all they could potentially have left to spend on gas, coffee, clothes, yoga, pets, wine, Netflix, and nights out with friends. After studying for four years, at the very least they have earned the right to enjoy their weekends. How are they supposed to start saving any money? This isn’t what they went to school for.