Fidelity survey: Parents expect kids to contribute more for college

BOSTON-BASED Fidelity Investments is touting a new survey that found parents are expecting more from their children when it comes to saving for college. / BLOOMBERG NEWS FILE PHOTO/JB REED
BOSTON-BASED Fidelity Investments is touting a new survey that found parents are expecting more from their children when it comes to saving for college. / BLOOMBERG NEWS FILE PHOTO/JB REED

PROVIDENCE – The steep costs of college are no longer just a problem for parents – many expect their kids to save more than $10,000 for tuition by the time they graduate from high school, according to a new survey by Fidelity Investments Inc.

Boston-based Fidelity’s 2018 College Savings Indicator Study found that 62 percent of parents still plan to cover most of their children’s college costs themselves.

However, it found that parents want their kids to set aside an average of $15,385 by high school graduation, up from $12,431 in 2016.

In addition, fewer parents [49 percent] feel its their obligation to foot the whole bill for their kids’ college education, down from 56 percent in 2016, according to Fidelity.

- Advertisement -

“It’s no wonder parents today are more realistic about how much they can contribute to their kids’ education, as nearly one in five are still struggling to pay off their own student debt while saving for retirement,” said Melissa Ridolfi, Fidelity’s vice president of retirement and college products.

“Expecting children to assume more responsibility for college costs makes sense,” Ridolfi said, “but the right time for the college talk is long before the first tuition bill is due.”

The study also found that more parents [37 percent] are starting to save for their kids’ college education before their child reaches age 2, up from 21 percent two years ago, but they are on track to meet just 28 percent of their college funding goals.

That’s where financial advisers such as Fidelity see opportunities to gain new business.

“Clearly there is an opportunity for advisers to initiate a conversation about college savings with both parents and their children,” said Ron Hazel, senior director of Fidelity’s retail college savings accounts and individual retirement savings products.

Scott Blake is a PBN staff writer. Email him at Blake@PBN.com.