Sorry, Kids: Your Parents Feel Less Able to Help Pay for College

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What a difference five years can make. A new survey from Amerprise Financial shows that parents (and future parents) feel they are much less capable of helping their children foot the bill for college than in years past.

According to the latest Money Across Generations report, only 25% of adults, aged 18 to 46, surveyed said they believed they would be able to help their children pay for their education, down from 49% in 2007. Only 24% of affluent baby boomers, those aged 47 to 65 who make more than $100,000, said they were very confident they would be able to help their children or grandchildren pay for education. If they aren’t able (or willing) to help their children pay for school, who is?

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Not only does the survey show the lingering signs of the Great Recession, it shows that things are only likely to get worse for college students, who are already taking on a record-high average of $25,000 debt. Last week, the total amount of outstanding student debt reached a grim milestone, topping $1 trillion for the first time in history, and last year the total amount of student loans taken out topped $100 billion, also a first. Both totals are sure to increase as students receive less financial assistance from their parents to attend school.

Here are some other findings from the report, which focused on the opinions of baby boomers:

  • About half of baby boomers say they are optimistic about the financial future of the U.S., down from about two-thirds in 2007;
  • Just 17% say they are “very optimistic” about their personal financial future (remember, these are people bringing in $100,000+ a year), down from 39% five years ago;
  • 45% of baby boomers worry that their children’s financial situation will prohibit them from having the same opportunities they have enjoyed; and
  • 55% are concerned their children will not have enough financial resources to achieve a secure retirement.

Kayla Webley is a Staff Writer at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @kaylawebley, on Facebook or on Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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