Social Media

How America Saves for College 2009: A national study by Sallie Mae and Gallup

Sallie Mae's "How America Saves for College 2009" study (PDF 1.40 MB), conducted by Gallup, finds American families of low and modest incomes who are saving for college save as much or more as a percentage of income as families in higher income brackets. Based on a nationally representative survey of parents of children under 18, the study found that:

  • On average, parents who save for college earmark 3.6 percent of annual income for their child’s education, however, households earning under $50,000 set aside on 7.5 percent of their annual income.
  • Only 29 percent of families are on track to reach their savings goal.
  • On average, parents began saving when their oldest child was almost three years old. Parents of children 12 and under are more likely than parents of teens to have saved.
  • Families saved an average of $2,676 for college annually, for an average total of $13,827.

Current % Income Saved Annually

Released in September 2009, “How America Saves for College 2009” (PDF 1.40 MB) is part of a series conducted by Sallie Mae and Gallup on how families save and pay for college. To view the “How America Pays for College” studies from 2009 and 2008, please visit