While the cost of a college education increases every year, far too few parents are saving for their children's future. As a result, more mutual fund companies, recognizing the need for parents to prepare, are training advisers to discuss college savings plans with parents and grandparents.

The estimated cost of a 17-year-old's college education is $54,880 for a public university and $131,361 for a private college. Ninety-five percent of parents said they plan on helping their kids pay for college and 41% plan to cover all of their children's expenses, according to a survey of 1,358 parents conducted in August by the national polling firm Mathew Greenwald & Associates of Washington for AllianceBernstein of New York. Parents participating in the poll had at least one child under the age of 18 who they identified as likely to attend college and a household income of $50,000 or more.

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