Nearly half of millennial parents who want to save for college have student loan debt, according to survey

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In time for College Savings Month, published the results of its fourth annual College Savings Survey, which reveal parents are becoming more realistic about saving and paying for college, and are cost-conscious when it comes to school selection.

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After more than 20 years, it appears 529s have become a more mainstream investment product, at least among affluent parents.

September is recognized as National College Savings Month, and many states and 529 plan providers are sponsoring events to raise awareness about being prepared for the rising costs of higher education. As part of their campaign, has published the results of the 2017 Annual College Savings Survey, which reveal more families are using 529 plans and understand how they work than in previous years., a leading college savings resource and authority on 529 plans, administered the survey to a total of 852 parents and grandparents who visited the website and are currently saving or researching college savings options.

Most parents have high aspirations when it comes to saving for college, but they’re also realistic. Sixty percent of parents want to cover at least two-thirds of college expenses, but only 40 percent are confident that they will be able to pay for their child’s preferred university. Families plan to bring costs down by applying for scholarships and living off-campus. Price is also a consideration during school selection - most parents who said they were saving for a private university said they would send their child to a state school or community college instead if it were free.

Student loan payments can hinder a parent’s ability to save for college. Overall, the majority of parents and grandparents who visit do not carry a student loan balance. However, nearly half of millennial respondents (ages 25-34) who are researching college savings options are still paying down student debt, indicating college saving is a high priority for young parents.

“We’re pleased to see a growing awareness of 529 savings plans among college savers for the third straight year,” said Martha Kortiak Mert, VP of Marketing at “After more than 20 years, it appears 529s have become a more mainstream investment product, at least among affluent parents.”

The Annual College Savings Survey was administered online by from June through July 2017. To download the comprehensive report, visit Learn more about College Savings Month events and promotions, including a free Q&A webinar with industry experts, visit

About has been a leading independent authority on 529 college savings plans since 1999. The site compiles and analyzes data, and creates content and tools to provide parents, financial professionals and state agencies with resources to help them understand how to meet the challenge of increasing higher education costs.

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Kathryn Flynn
Saving For College LLC
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