Grandparents pitching in for college tuition

AGAWAM, Mass. (WWLP) – The cost of college is higher than ever, and many grads spend a lifetime paying down the debt. 22News discovered it’s not just students and their parents chipping in.  Now they’re getting help from the “Grandparents Scholarship Fund.”

Grandparents are shelling-out big bucks for their grandkids’ college. A Fidelity survey found 53% of grandparents are saving, or planning to start saving, for their grandkid’s education.

“Every year since they were born I put a certain amount of money in a bank account, and that hopefully will pay for college for each of them for two years,” said Charlene Hermans of Agawam.

Hermans hopes by the time her 5 and 7-year-old grandkids are ready for college, she’ll have $50,000 for each of them.

Many grandparents want to make sure their grandkids are set up for success, and with the rising cost of college, many of them are shelling out a decent chunk of change.

The average contribution is $25,000, but many grandparents said they hope to give twice that.

“Each year as it came along, I paid her tuition, her mom paid for her books, and she paid for her parking. I’m just fortunate I was in a position to help my granddaughter,” said Joan Liquori of Agawam.

Parents say they appreciate the help.

“We refer to it as the grandfather scholarship fund. They’ve always assisted with other costs or even the costs of tuition itself,” said Alan and Lisa Teixeira of Ludlow.

One- third of the grandparents in the Fidelity survey said they contribute to a college savings plan on a monthly basis.  Right now the total for the national student loan debt is nearing $1.2 trillion.

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