By Joseph Staples // SWNS

w/ VIDEO + INFOGRAPHIC

According to new research, seven in 10 parents (71%) are feeling nervous about paying for college this year after the tumultuous economic climate in the past year.

However, a survey of 2,000 American parents of prospective college students and current college students has found 76% of parents have begun talking with their kids about how their family plans on addressing college finances.

Half (51%) have found just talking to their kids about the cost of school can reduce the amount of stress parents feel about it.

Commissioned by College Ave Student Loans and conducted by OnePoll, the study found on average, parents expect the full cost of college — including tuition, books, room and board — to be above $26,000 annually.

More than four in five (87%) parents with kids in high school have talked with them about the transition into college. Those talks include good study habits (80%), time management (69%) and budgeting (62%).

A fifth of parents surveyed (21%) said they would cover more than half of their kid’s college cost. Meanwhile, more than two-thirds (68%) expect their kids to foot up to a third of the bill themselves.

While 57% are confident their kid has some knowledge about how to best manage their collegiate budget, at least one in four (28%) feels like their kid isn’t prepared for college overall.

Specifically, parents feel like their kids aren’t prepared for the academic load (54%), mental stress (49%) and emotional load (44%) that comes from higher education.

“College is one of the biggest investments for the child’s future,” said Joe DePaulo, CEO and Co-Founder of College Ave Student Loans. “Creating a plan as a family on how to pay for higher education costs can set up the child for success now and for the years to follow.”

For families looking to save and budget money, two-thirds of parents agree applying for scholarships (66%) or living at home (65%) were the top two ways to save.

The average prospective student will apply for three scholarships to help pay for college. If they plan on attending a four-year degree university, they’ll apply for an average of four scholarships.

On top of scholarships, two-thirds said their kids are either planning to or already have a job to help pay for college. However, 63% worry their kids’ job won’t be enough to put a dent in college costs.

Over a third (35%) of respondents felt like they’ve already exhausted all their options to pay for their kid’s college costs.

To get the best financial advice possible, parents are turning to college financial aid offices (49%) and internet research (32%) to see what other options are available.

Scholarships aside, things like savings accounts (85%), federal student loans (48%), college funds (26%) and private student loans (17%) can all play a role in paying for college and saving personal costs.

“When looking at ways to pay for college, make sure to exhaust all financial aid options available, including scholarships and grants,” said DePaulo. “If you find your family still has a gap to cover after scholarships, grants, savings and income, student loans are one option to explore. Make sure to look at federal student loans in the student’s name first — as those come with unique benefits, such as loan forgiveness and income-based repayment plans — before exploring private student loans. Always shop around for private student loans with good rates and flexible repayment plans that fit your budget and financial goals.”

 

THE SMARTEST WAYS TO PAY FOR COLLEGE:

  1. Savings accounts or Income          85%
  2. Scholarships and Grants                62%
  3. Federal student loans                     48%
  4. College Savings funds                    26%
  5. Private student loans                     17%

 

THE BEST WAYS TO SAVE WHILE PAYING FOR COLLEGE:

  1. Applying for scholarships                                                               66%
  2. Living/staying at home                                                                    65%    
  3. Going to a community college or junior college first                      41%    
  4. Renting textbooks                                                                           37%    
  5. Buying older textbooks/equipment second-hand                           36%    
  6. Living with roommates                                                                    30%    
  7. Paying for groceries/food outside of college                                  27%    
  8. Walking, biking, or using public transportation instead of driving  25%    
  9. Living/staying at on-campus dorms                                               18%   

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