ó About halfway through high school, Raymond Buehner
and Halle Celebrezze came to terms with how expensive a
college education would be and the fact that a large
share of the financial responsibility would fall on
their shoulders. Both began stashing away money from
their part-time jobs.
been saving a lot since I started this job," said
Buehner, 18, who recently graduated from North Hills
High School in Pittsburgh. He has been working 20 to 30
hours a week at a family farm called Soergel Orchards
outside the city for the past two years. He plans to
attend Slippery Rock University this fall and major in
have my own savings account I control," he said.
"I like to take charge of my own finances. This job
has given me good experience. Working the cash register
has helped me to be more accountable with money."
there is nothing new about high school students working
and saving for college, researchers at the Washington,
D.C.-based College Savings Foundation are seeing a spike
in the number of young people going that route.
its seventh annual report on college savings trends, the
College Savings Foundation found more high school
students saving their own money for college this year
than any previous year tracked. The survey found 60
percent of high school students are saving for college,
up from 51 percent in 2015.
surge comes at a time when previous generations of
college students have run up $1.3 trillion in college
debt and many of them are finding their choices after
graduation limited by all the bills. Those following in
their footsteps have taken note.
school students have a heightened awareness of the high
cost of a college education and its importance,"
said Mary Morris, chairman of the foundation and CEO of
Virginia 529 in Richmond. "Families are talking
more about all these things related to financing of
college, which has led to more students taking
18, who graduated this year from North Allegheny Senior
High School will be attending the University of
Pittsburgh this fall where she plans to major in
psychology. She started working part-time between 15 and
20 hours a week at Soergel Orchards three years ago when
she was in 10th grade.
she had no savings goals. That charged about a year
after she started the job.
my junior year, (the school) started talking really deep
into college planning and how expensive it is, and I
started putting my money into a savings account my
parents started when I was born," Celebrezze said.
still have money to spend. I usually take $50 out of
each paycheck every week."
to the CSF survey, 78 percent of high school savers have
put away at least $1,000 and 20 percent are saving
primarily in 529 college savings plans due to the plansí
529 program gets its name from the tax law which created
it. These plans are actually college savings trusts set
up under Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. The
concept originated from states, rather than the federal
government, with Michigan being the first to establish a
state trust for college saving in the late 1980s.
all states offer 529 plans. As long as the money is used
for qualified college expenses, a 529 is a tax-free
investment. Families can put aside up to $14,000 per
child each year in the plans, pay no taxes on the money
while it is growing, and pay no taxes when they pull the
money out to pay college bills.
College Savings Plans Network reported at the end of
2015, families had put aside $253.2 billion in 529 plans
to cover college costs.
parents also seem to be using sound strategies to boost
savings. Fifty-seven percent of students said their
parents save a fixed amount per month, up from 52
percent last year, and nearly half (47 percent) said
their parents started saving sometime between the
studentís birth and through elementary school.
the current generation of high school students who plan
to attend college are working and saving, many of them
also realize they likely will need to tap other funding
sources. The survey showed 91 percent will or may get
financial aid, and 91 percent of them know that
financial aid can include student loans that have to be
the 71 percent of high school students who plan on
borrowing, three-quarters of them are worried about
paying back loans, and 45 percent expect to be paying
back student debt for six to 10 years.
said she believes 529 plans are doing a better job of
getting the word out about the opportunities for tax
advantaged saving, but often what families have saved
for college is not enough to cover all the costs.
to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and
fees at a four-year public college for in-state students
is $9,139 a year; for out-of-state students at a public
four-year college the average cost is $22,958; and
private four-year colleges cost $31,231 a year on
have a realization that their savings may not be enough
to go the distance," Morris said. "Hopefully
they recognize that an appropriate amount of debt could
help them achieve their goals.
many families itís a combination," she said.
"You save as much as you can and make smart choices
about where you go and how to put the whole financial