Kids often hear — from parents, teachers and other stakeholders — about the importance of a college education to their future success. Since 34% of the 2012 U.S. high school graduates didn’t pursue a post-secondary education, many of them aren’t listening. But a fascinating new study — conducted by the Assets and Education Initiative at the University of Kansas — may have discovered one small factor that could have an outsized impact on whether students decide to attend college.
According to the study, the chances of a student with no college savings account enrolling in college are only 49%. But, for a student with a college savings account of even one dollar, the probability of enrollment rises to about 70%.
I was very surprised by this finding. Clearly, such a small amount of money won’t make a dent in the absurdly high cost of a college education. But, rather than the amount of money students are able to save, the study suggests that “. . . just opening an account and designating some of that money for higher education may turn college into an important goal rather than just a dream, with a strategy for how to overcome cost barriers.”
And the results don’t stop at college admission. The study also found that students with a college savings account between $1 and $499 are 20% more likely to graduate college than their peers with no savings account at all.
Although more research is necessary, it’s well worth your time to head down to the bank and put a few bucks into your kids’ college savings accounts. Based on the research, I can’t think of an easier or more direct way to make a solid investment in our future.
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