More than three-quarters (77 percent) of parents expect to partially or fully fund their children’s education, and they will depend on current income or savings to do so, according to new research from HSBC.

The report, "The Value of Education: Springboard for Success," found that 51 percent of parents wish they had begun saving and planning earlier. Thirty-seven percent said that making decisions about their children’s education was overwhelming.

“The reality is it’s never too early to start investing and saving for your child’s future,” said Andrew Ireland, head of wealth management, North America, HSBC Securities (USA).

Paying for their children’s education was the best investment they could make for them, according to 51 percent of respondents.

Forty-four percent of parents said they expected college to help their children compete for jobs and boost earning potential. Fifty-five percent would like their children to study at the postgraduate level.

Parents said that, ideally, 48 percent of the money they spend to support their children would be used to pay for education, while only 10 percent of the money would be spent to pay for a wedding or a deposit on a house.

“Education continues to be a top financial priority for parents, with the expectation that it will positively impact their children’s lives,” said Ireland.

The online survey included more than 300 parents in the U.S. between December 2013 and January 2014.