Many local families make college a top savings priority, Fidelity/MEFA survey finds

Photo taken from MEFA’s website.
Photo taken from MEFA’s website.

Fidelity Investments, a Boston-based financial-services company that offers college-savings products, said Thursday that a recent survey found that 83 percent of parents in Massachusetts report that saving for college is one of their top three savings priorities for 2014.

Fidelity conducted the survey with the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority, or MEFA.

Other findings: Families that said they had a plan in place and plan to save monthly intend to set aside an average of $448 each month toward their children’s future college expenses. And 48 percent of respondents indicated that they plan to save more in 2014.

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One way for a family to save for college is to open a dedicated college savings account, like the U.Fund College Investing Plan, a tax-advantaged 529 plan where earnings can be used free of federal and state income tax for qualified higher education expenses like tuition, room and board, and books, Fidelity said.

“More and more families are making saving and planning for college a family affair,” Keith Bernhardt, vice president of college planning at Fidelity, said in a statement. “Not only are many grandparents actively contributing to their grandchildren’s college savings accounts, but parents are also involving their children in the college planning process. Children should understand their parents’ expectations for their role in the process, how much college costs and the options available to their family to pay for it.”