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FUTURETRUST(r) HOPES & DREAMS Survey Reveals College Savings Concerns are Impacting Spending Habits and Economic Recovery

Posted Jul 16 2009 10:14pm

Majority of U.S. Parents Believe That They Will Not Be Able To Afford A College Education for Their Children and These Concerns Are Affecting Daily Living

A new survey released today reveals that college savings concerns currently are or will affect the daily lives of 83% of parents, with 64% actively making changes to their current spending habits. The survey, commissioned by Futuretrust(r) and conducted by Harris Interactive(r), also finds that 92% of U.S. parents (1) expect to have to pay for their children’s college education but more than half (57%) do not believe that they will be able to save enough money to afford college for their children.

Futuretrust’s Hopes & Dreams survey was first conducted in 2007 and seeks to explore Americans’ college savings concerns and how these concerns impact and are impacted by daily living and the economy. With unemployment on the rise, an uncertain economic future and college tuition at an all-time high, the survey finds that American families are struggling to save for their children’s college education.

Additional survey findings reveal that:
Parents Are Worried About Being Able to Afford College

92% of parents surveyed expect to pay for their child/children’s college education and most (90%) are currently facing obstacles saving. Nearly two thirds of those surveyed (62%) are depending on scholarships, loans, grants and/or financial aid while more than half of parents (53%) surveyed expect that their child/children will need to reconsider their college and/or university choices based on cost.

More Parents Are Struggling to Save for College in This Economy

60% of parents say that the economy is affecting their ability to save for college, a nearly 20% increase from last year (2). Of those, nearly one out of every two parents (45%) have stopped or decreased contributions to college savings. Forty-two percent (42%) say they have not started saving for their children’s college education at all and, of those, 65% claim that they do not have room in their budget to put money away for college, up 18% from last year (2), and 45% said that they need to worry about more pressing financial concerns.

College Savings Concerns Are Having a Real Impact on the Economy

83% of parents cite that college savings concerns are currently affecting their daily lives or expect it to in the future, with 64% actively making changes in their spending habits due to these concerns including spending less on dining and eating out (47%), spending less this holiday season (42%) and taking fewer vacations this summer or spending less on the vacations they do plan to take (42%).

The survey also reveals that due to the economic environment, 56% of parents polled are seeking creative ways to save for their child’s college education. One in ten (10%) is participating in rewards and incentive initiatives such as credit card programs like Futuretrust that make contributions to 529 programs for purchases.

Today, 529 college savings programs like Futuretrust are helping consumers save for college as active contributions become increasingly difficult. Futuretrust President and Founder Rebecca Matthias stated, “Even though most Americans have been affected by the current economy, it is encouraging to find that an increasing number of parents are actively looking for innovative ways to save for their child’s college education. The Futuretrust card lets parents build a college fund for their kids simply through the purchase of everyday necessities like groceries and gas, without impacting already tight budgets.”

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