Study: Children of divorce responsible for more of college costs

A new study found that children of divorced parents are responsible for more of college’s financial burdens than those students’ whose parents are still together.

According to the study, married parents contribute about 8 percent of their income to college costs, while those who have gone through a divorce only contribute 6 percent of an income. In addition, those who are married cover 77 percent of a child’s financial needs, while those who are no longer together pay only 42 percent of those financial needs.

In addition, the study also looked at parents who have been remarried, and found that while those parents tend to chip in more money than those who are divorced, it is still not as high of a percentage as married parents. Specifically, those who have been remarried contribute 5 percent of their income and pay for 53 percent of their child’s financial needs.

The study was conducted by researchers from Rice University and the University of Wisconsin. In total, researchers looked at interview data from 2,400 dependent undergraduate students. The information came from a subsample of the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study for the 1995 to 1996 school year.

For those who are divorced, the difference can be chalked up to the same incomes having to pay for two households. In addition, sources claim, that even just the process of having to split up assets during a divorce can leave some people more cautious about holding on to what they still owe. This could result in a parent not feeling as comfortable chipping in as much money as someone who is still married.

For those parents who are remarried sources point to multiple factors for why they do not typically chip in as much money, including expenses from the previous divorce and in some situations expenses associated with having step children.

Source: The Dallas Morning News, “College burdens greater for students when divorce is in play,” Pamela Yip, 27 Dec 2010

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