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American Parents Increasingly Expect Kids to Help Pay for College

As student debt piles up, more and more parents expect their children to carry the load.

By Luke McGrath

(Bloomberg) -- When parents take their children out to dinner, more often than not it’s expected that Mom or Dad will pick up the tab; when it comes to college, it’s a trickier question.

A survey of U.S. parents with college-bound students by Discover Student Loans found 38% expect their child to pay for most of higher education, a 7% increase from 2018. Just 28% are willing and able to cover the entire cost of college, a 6% slide from last year.

U.S. student debt hit $1.6 trillion in the first quarter of 2019, according to the Federal Reserve. As of September 2018, over 11% of student debt was more than 90 days delinquent or in default. In the final quarter of 2017, over 44.5 million Americans had some form of outstanding student loans and almost 8 million Americans had a balance of $50,000 or more, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Paying for college is a worry for most parents. Three-quarters of those surveyed are at least somewhat concerned about how their child’s education costs will affect their own financial situation. Almost a third said they’ll have to delay retirement to pay for it, the survey found.

Despite those concerns, 70% of parents said they will not limit their child’s college choice based on price. More than half said they’re planning to rely on scholarships and grants to help cover the cost.

The survey of about 1,500 parents of college-bound students (ages 16-18) was carried out online in June 2019 with a 2.5% margin of error.

To contact the author of this story:
Luke McGrath in New York at [email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Joshua Petri at [email protected]

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