Mark Dolliver’s Takes: Win a Grant, Kid

Alas, home schooling isn’t an option for a kid’s college years. That means parents—or someone—must come up with money for tuition, board and whatnot. An ABC News poll indicates how parents of pre-college-age kids regard the matter. First off, 74 percent believe it’s very likely their kids will attend a four-year college, with another 16 percent saying it’s somewhat likely. (As a reality check, ABC News notes that 45 percent of 2005’s high school grads enrolled in a four-year college.) Just one-fifth plan to pay the full bill, though (see chart below). Among parents who have begun saving for college, 48 percent conceded they’re behind where they should be at this point. It doesn’t help that a majority of those now saving do so mainly via a checking account (8 percent!) or savings account (47 percent). Just 22 percent are amassing funds via stocks and bonds. Fewer still (8 percent) said they’re making use of a tax-advantaged 529 college-savings account. What do they think will take up the slack? Forty-four percent of parents wishfully mentioned a scholarship or a grant; 22 percent cited student loans. Thirteen percent said the kid has been saving up, and 9 percent said the young scholar will work his or her way through college.