In fact, grandpa -- and even your dad -- wouldn't recognize how U.S. families pay for college these days.
No shocker there. According to the College Board, the average annual cost of a four-year public college or university stood at $8,655 in the past academic year. Back in 1982, that same bill would have risen to only $2,423 -- or, adjusted for inflation, $5,865.
That's would be a 32% discount off today's prices.With unemployment and underemployment high and college prices skyrocketing, parents today have to come up with some creative -- and sometimes unappealing -- ways to pay for college. College Savings Indicator Study, parents are stashing away $5,000 per year for college savings -- and that's just not enough. So 54% of parents expect their kids to go online and earn college credits, and another 54% expect their kids to work part time to help pay for college. Living at home. Fidelity says 55% of U.S. parents expect their kids to "accept compromises" in their college education due to higher tuition costs. Maybe that's why 50% of parents will ask their children to live at home and commute to college to save costs. No private schools. According to Fidelity, 43% of parents say they may not be able to even borrow enough money in student loans to cover the costs of college. That's why 40% of parents are limiting their kids' college choices to public schools. their financial adviser for a face-to-face reality check on what the family can -- and cannot -- afford for college. "Paying for college is a stressful topic, and adding a third-party financial professional may help take some of the emotion out of these highly charged yet important conversations," says Matt Golden, vice president of college savings for Fidelity Financial Advisors Solutions. Overall, Fidelity gives parents a B-minus grade for their college savings efforts for this year. There is room for improvement. "While a B-minus is a passing grade, parents need to make sure they are considering the total cost of college," says Keith Bernhardt, vice president of college planning at Fidelity Investments. "Families can make some simple adjustments to help improve their college savings 'grades' and keep themselves on track toward their goal."