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New Survey on Americans' College Savings

September 16, 2014

A new survey, conducted on behalf of CFP Board by ORC International, finds that American parents are struggling to save for higher education while managing living expenses.  The survey finds that costly living expenses prevent many parents from saving for their children’s higher education, with a third of American parents still repaying their own student loan debt, impeding their ability to save for their children.
In the survey, more than two-thirds (69 percent) of the 1,003 parents surveyed report they have not started saving for their children’s higher education because everyday living expenses have left no additional funds. Nearly half of American parents (48 percent) say that student debt has prevented them from saving for other priorities such as an emergency fund (33 percent), retirement (32 percent) or their children’s higher education (31 percent). Additionally, saving for their children’s higher education is not most parents’ top priority; the most important financial goal for parents is building an emergency fund (40 percent) followed by saving for retirement (33 percent).
“As we continue to debate the value and cost of higher education, we must acknowledge the difficult balancing act many parents face when repaying their own debt and saving for their children,” says Eleanor Blayney, CFP®, Consumer Advocate for CFP Board.  “Managing expenses from the past and present is crowding out planning and saving for the future, including children’s higher education, retirement, and even essential emergency funds.”

Read the news release

Read the full survey report