Survey: Most parents aren't saving for their kids' college

college savings

Online financial planning service SimpliFi recently published the results of its Back to School survey, which found that 58 percent of parents don't have a college education fund established for their children--and only 57 percent of parents of preschoolers are putting money towards a college fund.

"The average cost of college has skyrocketed in the past 30 years, so building up enough savings to pay for it has become more difficult," SimpliFi CEO and co-founder Bryan Link said in a statement. "To ease the stress and financial burden, it's crucial that parents start saving for college very early--even while their kids are still in diapers. Less than five percent of Americans have a financial plan, but those with a plan are almost three times as likely to hit their goals. If parents start saving while their children are young they won't have to take out loans, or leave their children financially responsible to pay for school."

Other findings of SimpliFi's Back to School survey include the following:

  • 75 percent of parents who are saving for college feel they have a say in where their child goes to school
  • 62 percent expect their children to share the responsibility of paying for their education
  • 60 percent of parents say that they plan on paying for college in cash, while 13 percent are willing to take out loans, and only 10 percent are planning to use financial aid
  • 8 percent are planning to pay for college through scholarships--either academic or athletic
  • 22 percent are willing to pay for as many years of college as it takes for their children to graduate

"College is by far one of the most important investments you can make for your children--saving even a little at a time, from a very young age, can greatly decrease the financial hardship that comes along with sending your kids off to school," Link said.