Sallie Mae's How America Saves for College 2015 (PDF) study, conducted by Ipsos, finds that nine in 10 American parents believe a college education is an important investment in their child’s future, yet fewer than half (48 percent) are saving for college, and those who do have a college fund are saving less than they did in past years.
How America Saves for College 2015 looks at the college-saving attitudes and behaviors of American parents with at least one child younger than age 18. Some key findings of the study include:
- Parents earmark roughly10 percent of their total savings for college, but the average amount put aside for college fell to $10,040 in 2015, the lowest amount reported since Sallie Mae and Ipsos began reporting on trends in college savings in 2009.
- Increases in the cost of living and unexpected expenses were the most commonly cited reasons for saving less.
- Nearly half of college saving families, however, continue to rely on general savings accounts while only 27 percent utilize tax advantaged accounts like 529 college savings plans.
- Among parents saving for college, 41 percent are using auto-deposit services, up from 33 percent in 2014; 31 percent are designating a portion of each paycheck to a college savings fund, up from 26 percent in 2014.
How America Saves for College 2015 reports the results of online interviews that Ipsos conducted in January 2015 of 1,988 American parents with at least one child younger than age 18. The survey sample reflected a cross-section of key demographic variables in the United States, and respondents were able to take the survey in English or Spanish.