Parents plan to cover 64 percent of their children’s total college costs. However, they are on track to meet just 28 percent of that savings goal, according the most recent College Savings Indicator Study by Fidelity Investments.
Parents also expect their children to contribute an average of 35 percent towards the cost of college by tapping their own savings accounts, earning income from working part-time jobs and taking out student loans.
To help clients increase their savings, Fidelity suggests the following five steps:
1. Create a plan. Fifty-nine percent of parents surveyed had a plan to reach their college savings goals, and 52 percent of those felt they were on tack to reach that goal. Only 16 percent of parents without a savings plan felt they were on track to reach their goals.
2. Commit to a 529 college savings account. Ninety-three percent of parents saving in a dedicated college account said it helps them save and stay on track. Families using 529 accounts felt confident about how best to save, they saved more each month and were more likely to talk to their children about creating a family plan to pay for college than those that were not using a 529 plan.