Teens Playing a Bigger Role in Paying and Planning for College, Finds Private College 529 Plan's First Annual Teen College Savings Barometer

Over Half of Teens Reported Making Personal Contributions to College Savings Fund

May 22, 2013, 09:57 ET from Private College 529 Plan

ST. LOUIS, May 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- When it comes to preparing to cover future college costs, teenagers are taking action, helping parents both research how to pay for school and contributing to the family's college savings fund, according to the first annual Teen College Savings Barometer, a new study of 1,000 teenagers (13-17 years old) commissioned by Private College 529 PlanSM, a prepaid tuition plan sponsored by more than 270 leading private colleges and universities.

The vast majority (93 percent) of teens indicated that college savings planning was very or somewhat important to them.  In fact almost eight in ten teenagers from the study (78 percent) said they personally conducted research to learn about the best way to pay for their own college education.  This compares to only 60 percent of teenagers who said they personally conducted research about purchasing their first car. 

Given that three-fifths of teens (60 percent) said they expect to have to take out student loans in order to pay for some portion of their future college education costs, it is very positive to learn that over half of teens (54 percent) indicated they have participated in the financial contributions that are made towards their college education savings fund.  In comparison, 37 percent said they have made any financial contributions toward the purchase and/or subsequent payments associated with their first car. 

"The media have drilled it into our public consciousness that student loan debt has surpassed the $1 trillion mark, and this message is hitting home with Generation Z," said Nancy Farmer, president of Private College 529 Plan.  "It is very encouraging to learn that 66 percent of the teens from our study are having conversations with their parents in order to foster an understanding of how to save for college and make smart decisions about future student loans. By taking an active role in saving for their higher education these teens are investing in themselves and their futures, which can only benefit them financially as they move into adulthood and help take some pressure off of their parents."

However, there is still more work that needs to be done by both parents and college counselors to ensure that teens truly understand the best course of action when it comes to planning and saving for their college education. Despite the fact that almost three-quarters (73 percent) of the teens from this new study said they felt very or somewhat confident in their understanding about the best ways to save for their future college education costs, less than 2 in ten (14 percent) of the teens could define the term "529 Plan." 

To help bridge this knowledge gap, Private College 529 Plan encourages families to visit its microsite, TomorrowsTuitionToday.org, which helps increase awareness of the long-term financial planning that is required in today's economy to help ensure that a higher education is financially attainable for as many American families as possible. There are many college tuition savings options that exist and no plan is a one size fits all.  This microsite provides information about different college savings options all in one easily accessible destination, allowing families to decide for themselves what mix of these investment and/or savings plans best fits their unique needs.

Private College 529 Plan offers teens and their families another alternative to consider as it takes the risk of rising tuition out of the college savings planning equation. Structured as a prepaid plan, Private College 529 Plan is the only guaranteed way to lock in today's tuition rates that may be redeemed at any of more than 270 participating schools for up to 30 years.  It's important to know, tuition rates change July 1st, time is running out to save for college at 2013 rates.

About Private College 529 PlanSM  
Owned and operated by more than 270 leading private colleges and universities, Private College 529 Plan was created by authorization of the U.S. Congress for colleges and their consortia to help families save for college and increase the affordability and accessibility of higher education. Private College 529 Plan enables families to invest in their children's future by prepaying tuition at member institutions, protecting their savings from annual tuition inflation. 

The educational mix of private institutions participating in Private College 529 Plan provides families with a wide range of college choices. As opposed to other state specific congressionally authorized plans, Private College 529 Plan has a national scope, with participating private colleges across the United States. It also differs in that its administrative management is by the institutions themselves as opposed to government. Today, Private College 529 Plan is working for nearly 6,000 families with more than $200 million under management. For more information, visit https://www.privatecollege529.com/.

The first annual Teen College Savings Barometer was conducted online among a sample of 1,000 teenagers 13-17 years of age living in the U.S., comprising 500 boys and 500 girls.  The survey was administered from March 6-12, 2013 by ORC International using their Online CARAVAN®-Youth Omnibus Service.   ORC is an unaffiliated third party which Private College 529 Plan commissioned and compensated to conduct this survey.

Participation in Private College 529 Plan does not influence or guarantee admission to any college or university.

The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. This material is provided for general and educational purposes only, and is not intended to provide legal, tax or investment advice, or for use to avoid penalties that may be imposed under U.S. federal tax laws. Contact your attorney or other advisor regarding your specific legal, investment or tax situation.

Private College 529 Plan is established and maintained by Tuition Plan Consortium, LLC. OFI Private Investments Inc., a subsidiary of OppenheimerFunds, Inc., is the program manager. Participation in the Plan does not guarantee admission to any college or university, nor does it affect the admissions process. Tuition Certificates are not insured or guaranteed by the FDIC, TPC, any governmental agency or OFI Private Investments Inc. or its affiliates.

Purchasers should carefully consider the risks associated with purchases and refunds of Tuition Certificates. The Disclosure Statement, including the Enrollment Agreement, contains this and other information about the Plan, and may be obtained by visiting privatecollege529.com or calling 1.888.718.7878. Purchasers should read these documents carefully before purchasing a Tuition Certificate.

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