Americans still aren't saving enough to pay for college, even though they are socking away twice as much as they did during the recession. In a report released Tuesday, the College Savings Plans Network found that the average college savings or prepaid tuition account known as a "529" plan is now worth about $20,671 — almost double what these accounts were worth during the dog-days of the financial crisis.
The group, which tracks the state-sponsored savings plans, attributes the increase to several factors including a healthier stock market and improved economy, as well as greater consumer awareness of 529 plans and a growing concern among parents of the cost of higher education. According to the report, contributions to 529 plans jumped from $16.5 billion in 2009 to $22.5 billion. At the same time, the $20,671 figure would only cover the first year at a public college or university and about half a year at a private college for a single year of tuition, fees, room and board.