The top things parents sacrifice for their children’s education

“Parents should be honest with their kids about what they will pay for, and then research all of the options the child has.”

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Fifty-six percent of American parents queried in a new survey conducted by Country Financial said that they would voluntarily go into debt in order to help pay for their children’s college tuition. In fact, the average respondent said they would willingly take on as much as $31,000 in debt for their child’s education.

“Parents obviously want to do whatever is in their power to help their children get a leg up in life,” explained Doyle Williams, an executive vice president at COUNTRY Financial to CISION.  “However, taking on tens of thousands of dollars of debt can have a major impact on their ability to save and prepare for their own financial future.”


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A sizable portion of the adults in the latest survey said that in addition to stowing away money for their child’s education, they’re still paying off their own student loan debt. Seven percent of respondents said they don’t expect to pay off their student loan debt in their lifetime and 36% of respondents still in school or recently graduated, said that they expect it will take them at least 10 years to get rid of their debt completely.

Tuition costs have been rising for a decade

The College Board’s 2018 report released back in October, states that college pricing, in-state tuition, and fees at public four-year institutions have risen at a median rate of 3.`1% a year beyond inflation for the last ten years. Thirty-six percent of the parents that have the luxury to save for their children’s college education, reported beginning doing so when their child was as young as five. Thirty percent of respondents said that raising a child proved to be more expensive than they thought, which means they are simply unable to set aside money for their kid’s tuition. Even still only 18% of saving parents said the money they put aside will cover 81 to 100% of their child’s education.

“Even if you plan to assist your child with the financial costs associated with college, our survey’s findings show that the majority of families are not able to cover the full tuition costs out-of-pocket,” Williams lamented. “Parents should be honest with their kids about what they will pay for, and then research all of the options the child has for furthering his or her education.”

The investment did not only take the form of extra money reserved in a savings account. Sixty percent of students enrolled or planning to attend college in the near future signed up for at least one expensive extracurricular activity. SAT and ACT prep classes, private sports, music and language classes, and hiring an academic tutor were all cited by parents and students with some consistency as methods of increasing their likelihood of admission and grant acceptance.

In order to pay for these activities, 29% of parents said that they sacrificed vacation spending, 26% dipped into their personal savings account, 18% took out loans, and 17% picked up part-time jobs in alongside their full-time gigs.  In addition to and in some cases independent of, assistance from their parents, 61% of recent college grads reported attending community college, 27% applied for scholarships, 43% sought financial aid, and 39% requested student loans in order to ease the financial burden placed on them and their folks.

Seventy -percent of all the respondents said that they believe having a college education is integral to earning a decent salary, and an additional 65% believed college is certainly worth the investment.


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CW Headley|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at cheadley@theladders.com.