The Investment Company Institute has found that parents saving for college have a high awareness of education-targeted plans and accounts.

The 529 college savings plan industry has fought the awareness battle since its inception, and the recent data is surely a welcomed breath of fresh air. Nearly two-thirds of respondents said they are aware of college savings programs, such as 529 plans, but do not own any of these kinds of accounts. However, that is about to change, according to the survey. More than one-quarter said they are likely to open up an account within the next year.

The ICI’s report, Profile of Households Savings for College, surveyed parents of children 18 years old or younger and found that saving for education is a top household financial goal, mentioned only behind saving for retirement and emergencies. Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds of those surveyed said they are saving for their child’s education.

While average account balances in 529s remain low, between $6,000 and $7,000, parents surveyed had a median of $10,000 saved and a mean of $23,600.

In getting the message out to investors, the report finds that professional financial advisers are important sources of information. And education-targeted savings programs have made inroads despite being relatively new, according to the ICI.

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