Just as the Great Depression left a lasting mark on the generation who lived through it, the children of the Great Recession may already be shifting their world view about money, judging by a new survey that says about 80 percent of them are shouldering some or all of their college costs.
"I think kids are stepping up and it requires a degree of financial responsibility," said Linda Descano, the president and CEO of Citi's Women & Co.
"I think it's a huge financial wake-up call," she said. "I think they're really seeing, they really have to own themselves. They don't have the security their parents did.They see their grandparents struggling to cover health care. I think they're realizing those safety nets are no longer there. How are you going to stay relevant? You can't just go to one place and stay there forever."
Four out of five college students are now working while going to school, typically 19 hours a week while classes are in session, according to the 2013 College Student Pulse survey conducted by YouGov for Citi and Seventeen Magazine. The survey, released this week, was conducted online in July and considered the views of more than 1,000 college students and high school seniors.
The YouGov findings are in line with a recent study released by SallieMae financial services company that found that parents now pay for about 27 percent of college costs, compared with 37 percent in 2010.
"The whole job outlook has been nothing short of bleak. That sort of had an effect on my outlook," said 20-year-old Zachary Lomas, who attends Colgate University.
(Read more: How to recruit those fussy millennial employees)
Lomas, who hails from Buffalo, N.Y., gets a mix of grants and loans, including some in his name which he figures will amount to $5,000 to $10,000 by the time he finishes his undergraduate degrees in history and English literature. His parents help with costs, especially his mother, he said.
The university's full financial aid package brings down the cost from the top-level sticker price. "What it actually costs is so far out of my range it would be laughable," Lomas said.