More parents of small children are setting up dedicated college savings funds.

The percentage of parents of children under 5 who have solid earnings and say they have created college savings accounts has increased to 40% this year, from 27% in 2007, before the economic slump began, according to Fidelity Investments, Boston.

About 67% of all surveyed parents with solid incomes said they are saving for their children’s college costs, up from 58% 5 years earlier.

Fidelity has published those figures in a summary of results from a survey of 2,300 U.S. financial decisionmakers who have college-bound children ages 18 and younger and who have annual household incomes of at least $30,000 per year.

Fidelity commissions an outside firm to use Monte Carlo simulations to predict how likely participating families might be to have enough savings to pay for their children’s education.

The current estimated U.S. family college funding level stands at 16%, unchanged from the funding level recorded in 2010 but down from 24% in 2007.

- Allison Bell

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