Grads' Expectations Appear To Conflict With Reality

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Credit unions with college students among their members should pay attention to a new online Harris Interactive survey of 1,000 college juniors and seniors that finds many are perhaps overly optimistic about their financial future.

The survey, sponsored by Citibank Credit-ED found:

* 61% of college upperclassmen expect to be working full-time within three months of graduation.

* 45% expect to earn an annual salary of $30,000 or more right after graduation; 21% who expect to make $40,000 or more.

* 35% believe they will achieve financial security and the lifestyle they want with little debt-within three years of graduation, and that 59% expect to have no credit card debt when they graduate and no credit card debt a year after graduation.

That compares to a recent Fed analysis that seems to suggest the college graduates' perceptions are about to clash with reality. Among those findings:

* More young people filed for bankruptcy than graduated from college in 2001.

* Some 60% of American households carry over some portion of their credit card debt every month. The average balance is more than $4,000.

* More than 70% of college undergraduate students have credit cards; most have multiple cards with an average total balance of $2,748; 20% who carry balances on their cards have debts of more than $10,000.

* About 95% of college graduate students have cards; each has an average of four cards with an average total balance of $4,776.

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