Fidelity Investments released the results of its first annual College Savings Indicator on Wednesday, which tracks how well prepared parents are to meet future college costs, which are currently projected to top an average of $100,000 nationwide for todays high school seniors.
Parents on average are projected to meet only 24% of their childrens college education costs, including tuition, room and board, but those who are invested in a 529 college savings plan are on track to meet 52% of those costs.
Parents who do not have a solid college savings strategy or who are not utilizing a tax-advantaged savings account, such as a 529 plan, may see their child having to rely more heavily on student loans or other means to supplement costs, said Carolyn Clancy, executive vice president of personal and workplace investing at Fidelity. For many graduates, this will not only increase their total college costs, but will likely also impede their ability to start savings early toward other financial goals, such as buying their first home or saving for retirement.
Parents expect their children will foot 18% of the total college bill through student loans and another 8% through the childs own savings and jobs while in school and that they, the parents, will be able to shoulder 16% of the cost from income they earn while their child is in school. They anticipate scholarships and grants to cover another 20% and personal loans and gifts to fund 11%.
Seventy-nine percent said their child will appreciate college more if they partially pay for it.