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With the price tag of a good college education seemingly always on the rise, it’s no wonder families worry how they’ll cover this major expense. But, according to a survey by T. Rowe Price Group, a global investment management firm in Baltimore, it’s a concern that most students believe should fall on their parents. In fact, 62% of kids expect their parents to pay for “whatever college I want to go to.”

The College Board reported that the average full cost for a 4-year in-state school is about $80,000. Only about 35% of parents who took part in the eighth annual T. Rowe Price Parents, Kids & Money survey realized it cost this much.

The survey also found that more than half of parents (58%) are saving for their kids’ college tuition, yet only 12% of parents reported being able to cover the full cost of their child’s college tuition.

“It’s surprising that most kids expect their parents to cover whatever college they want to go to — and presents a real opportunity to discuss family finances and make sure everyone is on the same page,” Judith Ward, a senior financial planner at the T. Rowe Price Group, said in a press release.


From February 4 to February 11, 2016, MetrixLab surveyed 1,086 parents and 1,086 kids ages 8 to 14 in the U.S. on behalf of the T. Rowe Price Group. The margin of error for the survey is plus or minus three percentage points. Testing done among subgroups (i.e. boys vs. girls) is conducted at the 95% confidence level, and the report only includes findings that are statistically significant at this level.

Paying for College

It’s a good idea for parents to discuss their financial situation with their kids and consider all options when deciding on a school, as no one wants to drown in debt after graduation.

It’s also important to remember the effect student loans can have on your credit score. Sure, these loans can help diversify a credit profile, but it’s also good to remember that defaulting on one can be extremely damaging to your credit scores. These scores come into play for many of life’s major milestones, like taking out a mortgage or car loan, and some employers even look at a version of your credit report as part of the application process. To keep an eye on how your financial habits are affecting your credit, you can view your free credit report summary, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.

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