One in Three Parents May Need to Work Longer or Retire Later Due to the Cost of Their Child’s College Education

April 3, 2019

RIVERWOODS, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Almost one-third (31 percent) of parents with students currently in school or recently graduated say they may have to work longer or retire later due to helping pay for their child’s college education, according to a survey commissioned by Discover Student Loans.

The survey also found that 31 percent of parents said they may not have as much in retirement savings as they would like because of helping their child pay for college. In addition, 25 percent of parents reported that they may have to give up vacations, entertainment spending or other things they may like to do in the future.

“While parents are often willing to make personal sacrifices to help their child pay for college, it’s important they discuss their financial contribution as a family and balance that with their long term budgeting goals,” said Nicole Straub, vice president for Discover Student Loans. “This is especially meaningful as families start to receive award letters, compare financial aid packages and apply for scholarships.”

Despite the financial challenges they may face from helping their child pay for college, the survey found that only 18 percent of parents limited their child’s college choice based on price.

“Parents and students should closely review their award letters since they aren’t standardized and formats vary by school. To help make sense of the numbers, Discover Student Loans offers a free award letter comparison tool families can use to compare financial aid packages side by side and determine what is most affordable,” said Straub.

Discover Student Loans offers tools and resources to help parents and students plan and pay for college. In addition to the award letter comparison tool, students can use the free scholarship search with access to more than three million scholarships worth more than $18 billion. For more information about Discover Student Loans, please visit

About the Survey

The Discover Student Loans national online survey of 2,015 students, former students and parents in the United States was conducted between April 26 – May 7, 2018. Four similar surveys were administered among specific target audiences, by Research Now, an independent survey research firm. Target audiences included Parents of “College Bound” Students (age 16-18); Parents of Current and Former (Recently-graduated, age 18-24); Current and Former (Recently-graduated, age 18-24) Students. The margin of sampling error was +/-3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence. For this survey only stats from Parents of Current and Former (Recently-graduated, age 18-24) were used.

About Discover

Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is a direct banking and payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the United States. The company issues the Discover card, America's cash rewards pioneer, and offers private student loans, personal loans, home equity loans, checking and savings accounts and certificates of deposit through its direct banking business. It operates the Discover Global Network comprised of Discover Network, with millions of merchant and cash access locations; PULSE, one of the nation's leading ATM/debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network with acceptance in 190 countries and territories. For more information, visit

Rob Weiss
Discover Financial Services

Source: Discover Financial Services