If you could afford to fully foot the college bill, would you? Legg Mason study finds even most affluent parents want kids to help pay
Financing a college education is a big effort for every family, and according to Legg Mason Inc., a global asset management firm based in Baltimore, even those affluent enough to fully fund the bill feel that their children should help pay the cost.
More than 1,000 parents who have $250,000 or more in investable assets were surveyed by Legg Mason in order to find out their expectations when it came to college funding. Of those surveyed, 72 percent said they believe that their children should pay part of their college expenses – close to one-third said they should contribute as much as half the total amount.
The parents said they wanted their kids to participate in the investment because they wanted to make sure that their children take college education seriously, and appreciate it. They also used it as a way of teaching responsibility.
In fact, many of the parents use the time leading up to college as an opportunity to impress upon their children the impact college expenses can have on one’s life, even after graduation, Legg Mason said.
By sharing the responsibility of college financial planning, parents were able to discuss with their children such topics as budgeting; how to invest; earning money; and savings planning. They also talked about issues, including scholarship options; the impact of carrying a student loan; the expenses that come with college; and the types of schools that the kids can afford.
Among the 28 percent of parents who thought their children should not pay for college expenses, most said that they felt education is a parent’s responsibility (41 percent) or that they wanted their kids to stay focused on their studies (33 percent). Others wanted to help their children stay out of debt.
The more than 1,000 respondents to Legg Mason’s 2012 Intergenerational Survey of College Finances were equally split between men and women. 405 had children not yet in college, 248 had children in college, and 358 had children who were out of college and under the age of 40. The study aimed to investigate the differences in planning and expectations among three groups of parents: those with children who have already graduated, those with children currently enrolled and those who are planning to send their children to college.
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