Seventy-one percent of parents said that increased public awareness of student loan debt had caused them to look at different strategies for funding their child's education. Overall, saving is a top strategy for 45 percent of parents, up from 43 percent last year and topping loans/borrowing at 15 percent, grants/scholarships/direct aid at 30 percent, and current income at 7 percent.
The survey's findings paint a picture of a changing landscape with an emerging generation of savers and a broader perspective among all parents of where - and whether - their children will go for higher education. Parents are reimagining what higher education looks like: 42 percent think about vocational and career schools in the same way that they think about public or private colleges. That is double the 21 percent of high school students who think that way, as discovered by CSF's recent How Youth Plan to
The CSF survey of parents found that as many as 18 percent of their children had considered not going to college, with over a third of those feeling that their career choice could be achieved without it, and others balking at their parents spending that much money or their taking on student debt. Nonetheless, 82 percent of parents said that it was very important that their child be able to attend college if they wanted to do so.
Towards that goal, over half, 51 percent, of all parents are already saving, the second highest level in eight years behind 2013's 55 percent. Nearly half, 46 percent, have saved more than
According to the survey, parents are confident they will reach their college savings goals, 41 percent, up from 35 percent last year.
Moreover, these savings habits are being exhibited by younger parents. This year's survey included significantly more Millennials aged 21-30 (21 percent up from 7 percent in 2013) and 31-35 year olds (26 percent up from 16 percent last year); and 44 percent of all savers came from these two groups. They also made up over half - 52 percent - of those parents for whom saving was the top strategy for funding college.
"Parents of all ages see the power of saving as the best defense against the cost and potential debt load of college. It is exciting to see families embrace a host of strategies in achieving higher education without a burdensome price tag," said
Families selected numerous ways to reduce the cost of college: over a quarter (26 percent) will pair up two years in community school with two years of college; 22 percent said the child would live locally to save on room and board; 22 percent would take as many AP and IB classes as possible in high school, and 21 percent would choose a state school over a private school.
More are also relying on financial aid: 71 percent up from 65 percent in 2013, with loans included in those packages.
Fifty-eight percent of parents plan to borrow. They are relying primarily on education loans, but also on second mortgages, credit cards or credit lines, or borrowing against their retirement or other investments. Sixty-nine percent expect they or their children to be paying back loans at least five years after graduation, up from 66 percent last year.
Keywords for this news article include: Public Education.
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