College costs are too much for some people.

College costs are too much for some people.

A strong personal finance plan can involve a number of tasks that are form-fit to the person compiling it. Both young people and those established in the working world may need to take advantage of these options. This can be especially important for those who are trying to look for higher education, as some of their dream options may be cost prohibitive.

More than 75 percent of those polled received admission to their dream school last year, according to a report from the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. However, less than 57 percent of that group actually went to their desired school.

The biggest reason for not going to their desired campus was cost. The report showed that nearly 46 percent of those polled felt that affordability for their college was critical in order to make it work. This was the highest level recorded in any of the 10 years examined, and close to 15 percentage points higher than the first  measurement in 2004.

“The difficult financial decisions that students and their families have to make about college are becoming more evident,” said Kevin Eagan, interim director of CIRP. “Colleges that can reduce net costs to families are gaining more of an edge in attracting students to their campus. Over 62 percent of students who were admitted to but did not attend their first-choice college said they were offered aid by the institution they chose to attend.”

More parents aim to save for children’s education
Young people aren’t the only ones looking to factor higher education into their financial strategies. According to a report from Fidelity Investments, approximately 85 percent of parents noted that saving for their child’s higher education expenses is a notable factor in their financial situation. More than one-third of those polled felt that it was their most significant priority this year.

“For many parents, saving for college is an area of focus throughout the year, but the New Year is an ideal time for families to reassess their finances, set new savings goals and priorities, and establish a college savings plan,” said Keith Bernhardt, vice president of college planning at Fidelity.

Nearly 90 percent noted that they will attempt to save as much as they did in 2013, the report added. Another 60 percent felt they could put even more money away.

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