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Middle-Class Families Shrink Their College Fund Contributions

The share of middle-class families saving for college dropped below 50 percent for the first time in five years

Fewer parents are finding the money to save for their kids' college. And those who are saving, are saving less. After a 30 percent jump in the level of average savings for 2013, the day-to-day cost of living, combined with lower earnings and unexpected expenses, helped push the amount parents have saved for their kids' college down 25 percent in 2014, according to a new survey. The average savings level of $10,040 is the lowest in three years. 

Parents still value college as much as ever, according to a report released on Wednesday by Sallie Mae. Many still couldn't match 2013's savings. The share of middle-class families that saved for college dropped to 46 percent, from 51 percent, the first time in the survey's five-year history that it fell below 50 percent. Among the income groups broken out, middle-class households also had the highest share saying they'd cut back on household expenses to add to savings in the past year, at 27 percent. (Middle-class families are defined in the survey as having between $35,000 and $100,000 in income.)