College is well worth it but many can’t afford it. That’s the main message from HSBC’s latest Value of Education survey released Wednesday.
Seventy-one percent of U.S. parents believe a university education is unaffordable for the majority of Americans but 60% believe it’s essential for their child’s long-term success, according to the survey.
“College is absolutely necessary but at the same time unaffordable,” says Brian Schwartz, a financial advisor at HSBC.
The average cost for one year of tuition, fees and room and board for the 2014-2015 academic year is $19,000 at a public four-year college for in-state residents and $33,000 for out-of-state students, according to the College Board. The cost for a private four-year college is $42,400.
One result of the disconnect between what parents desire for their kids and what they can afford is an increasing number of parents scrutinizing the graduate employment rates of colleges, according to the survey. Seventy-four percent of respondents say they consider an institution’s graduate employment rate when helping their child choose among different schools, after considering the quality of teaching (90%) and tuition fees (81%).
An almost equal percentage – 78% – have a specific profession in mind, most likely to help boost their child’s employment rate after college. The survey found that parents’ top career preferences are engineering (14%), medicine (13%) and computer science (10%).
As for financing a college education, the survey found that 55% of parents with a child under five expect to use an education savings plan but only 31% with a child in college had such plans.