The class of 2012 might be heading into an unwelcoming job market, burdened by heavy student loans, but, for many, there's a thin silver lining. Parents, grandparents, other relatives, and family friends will be showering them with graduation gifts. Here, a look at the financial ups and downs of graduation:
Amount Americans are expected to spend on gifts for college and high school graduates this year, according to a National Retail Federation survey
Percentage of Americans who bought gifts in 2011. That percentage is expected to rise by a few points this year.
Percentage of gift-givers who plan to favor grads with cash
Percentage sending gift cards
Percentage who will give electronics. Roughly the same number said they would give clothing as gifts.
Total the average gift-giver plans to spend
Amount the typical gift-giver spent in 2009, when spending hit a five-year low
Amount the most generous age bracket — 45- to 54-year-olds — plans to spend
Average student-loan debt of two-thirds of graduating college seniors in 2010, according to the Project on Student Debt
Number of Americans with outstanding student loans
Total U.S. student loan debt, as of June 2010. The figure included $665 billion in federal loans and $168 billion in private ones
Amount the nation's student loan tab is increasing, per second
Estimated total U.S. student debt in 2011, a historic high