Survey Shows a Third of Illinois Parents Not Saving for Kids’ College

Piggy bank from German bank HASPA, around 1970.

Piggy bank from German bank HASPA, around 1970. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One-third of Illinois parents are not saving money for their children to attend college, according to a survey conducted by Bright Start College Savings.

The same survey shows that 97% of Illinois parents hope their children do get a college education; 80% cite not having enough money set aside for future expenses or tuition, and 14% worry about not being able to save enough for it to make a difference.

For other Illinois families, it isn’t a lack of funds preventing them from saving for college tuition, but rather a lack of knowledge. According to the survey, 10% of non-savers say they are unsure which investment vehicles to use, while another 7% believe that college savings accounts will reduce their family’s eligibility for financial aid.

Experts offer these tips to find money and save:

  • 1. Start with small changes. Bring your lunch to work can save as much as $50 a week, depending on your habits. Scale back on or eliminate luxuries like magazine subscriptions, monthly manicures and premium cable channels.
  • 2. Open a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan and ask family and friends to contribute to your child’s account in lieu of birthday and holiday gifts.
  • 3. Create a family matching plan in which your child puts part of their allowance, earnings, or gifts into a savings account and you match dollar-for-dollar (or more). This will also help your child with their own good savings habits for the future.
  • 4. Set up a direct deposit to have a small portion of your paycheck to go directly into a college savings account.
  • 5. Take account of all your spending. Make a spreadsheet that buckets every single dollar you spend. Review it every month to see where you can divert tuition money into a savings account.

Follow Valerie Jones on Twitter @ValerieJonesCMN

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