College Costs Force Saving

Sharon Rieger's picture
Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Massachusetts parents are saving more for college than they have at any time since the recession, but rapidly rising costs are requiring them to adjust expectations and approaches to financing their children’s education, according to a survey released today by Fidelity Investments.

Based on current and expected rates of savings, Massachusetts families are on track to cover about 24 percent of college costs, up from 18 percent last year, and the highest share since 2007, according to the Boston mutual fund company’s survey. Nationally, families are on track to cover just 16 percent of college expenses.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts parents are increasingly choosing lower-cost public colleges and universities over private institutions; asking children to pay more toward their educations; and having them live at home and commute to classes.

“Data year after year shows that families take saving more seriously,’’ said Thomas Graf, executive director of the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority, which helps families pay for college. “This survey helped us see a better way to get people to save for college by understanding the pressures families have and how people respond to those pressures.’’

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