PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- A new survey released today reveals that when it comes to paying for their children's college education, parents are looking for help -- from their children. The survey, commissioned by Futuretrust® and conducted by Harris Interactive®, finds that 90% of parents who anticipate that their children will attend college expect their children to contribute at least in part to their own college tuition. A majority (80%) of these parents expects them to contribute by applying for scholarships and grants, though both are increasingly endangered financial species. According to The College Board, "The average annual rate of growth in total federal grants declined from 9% between 1998-99 and 2003-04 to 3% over the next five years. The average annual rate of growth in total state grants declined from 8% to 3%."(1)
The answer to parents' concerns might be closer than they think. Only 24% of parents who anticipate that their children will attend college are looking to relatives and/or family friends for financial support. Among all parents, only 10% say college tuition savings is the most valuable type of credit card reward. The survey reveals that family and friends and credit card rewards are significantly underutilized resources that can make a difference in children's futures.
"The survey shows that future college costs remain a real concern for parents, even when their children are years away from attending college," said Joe Hurley, Founder of Bankrate, Inc.-owned Savingforcollege.com. "For most, the challenge will be met through a creative combination of strategies, including college savings plans, loans, grants and scholarships, along with budget adjustments."
Additional survey findings reveal that:
- Equal percentages of parents consider themselves as concerned about the national unemployment rate as they are about college tuition costs (77%).
- For the third survey in a row, a plurality of parents (29%) identified the "rising cost of food, gas, and other daily necessities" as the single greatest obstacle they face when trying to save for their children to go to college, followed by job loss/income reduction (18%), and fear that saving now still won't be enough (16%).
- 41% of parents who anticipate that their children will attend college have opened or plan to open a 529 tax-advantaged college savings account, though a staggering 33% still do not know what a 529 account is.
The Futuretrust Hopes and Dreams survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Destination Maternity Corporation between December 2-8, 2009 among 1,313 U.S. adults age 18+ who are parents of children aged 17 years or younger, 1,277 of whom anticipate their children will attend college in the future. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.
Futuretrust's Hopes and Dreams survey was first conducted in 2007 and seeks to explore Americans' college savings concerns and how these concerns impact and are impacted by daily living and the economy. With unemployment and college tuitions at an all-time high and an uncertain economic future ahead, the survey finds that American families are struggling to save for their children's college education.
Futuretrust® is a MasterCard®-linked college savings program that enables families and friends to save for college through their everyday spending. Every time a purchase is made with the Futuretrust MasterCard, a minimum of one (1) percent is automatically contributed to any tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan of the member's choice. Members also earn up to ten (10) percent in additional college savings when they use the Futuretrust MasterCard at thousands of partners in the Futuretrust Preferred Merchant Network consisting of major retail chains, catalogs, restaurants, and on-line merchants. Members can also earn college savings rebates when they buy, sell, finance, or refinance a home. Futuretrust Banking Center turns everyday banking into college savings. Futuretrust is a no cost program. Membership is available online at www.futuretrust.com, by calling 1-888-trust68, or in store at any Motherhood Maternity®, A Pea in the Pod® and Destination Maternity® locations.
About Harris Interactive®
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us -- and our clients -- stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.
(1) Trends in Student Aid 2009, http://www.trends-collegeboard.com/student_aid/