|by Nanci Hellmich, USA TODAY|
Most grandparents think it's important for them to help pay for their grandchildren's college education, a new survey shows.
About 72% feel that way, but only 37% say they're currently saving for their grandkids' college expenses. Grandparents who are already saving or planning to save say they're going to give a median of
The online survey, sponsored by
And 90% said they would likely make a contribution to their grandchildren's college-savings fund for special occasions such as birthdays and holidays, instead of giving them other gifts.
Although many grandparents want to contribute to college for their grandchildren, some may not have the financial means to do so, says
• 37% of grandparents worry about their grandchildren's ability to go to college without coming out with significant student loan debt.
• Of the grandparents who are already saving for their grandchildren's college education, 35% are putting aside money every month; 35% contribute as gifts on special occasions.
• 52% of grandparents are familiar with 529 college savings plans, which have tax advantages and are designed to help families save for future college costs.
"The 529 plans have estate-planning benefits for grandparents while at the same time grandparents maintain tremendous control over the assets and can take the money back if they need to," but if they do that, they have to pay taxes and penalties on the earnings, Bernhardt says.
Certified public accountant
Hurley says students have to report grandparents' financial assistance from the previous year, whether from 529 plans or other sources, on their financial aid applications.
|Copyright:||Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com|