About 47% of U.S. parents now say saving for college is a higher priority than saving for retirement, and only 41% say retirement savings should come first.

Researchers at Country Financial, Bloomington, Ill., have reported that finding in a summary of results from a May survey of 1,241 U.S. adults who expect to be responsible for paying for a child’s education.

Participants rated college savings as being more important than retirement savings for the first time in 3 years.

In 2008, 47% of the participants favored nest eggs over college savings, and just 42% favored college savings.

This year, a gender gap appeared. About 50% of the men who took the survey said they were likely to put their children’s education ahead of their retirement, but only 38% of the women who took the survey favored college savings over retirement, Country researchers report.