Grandparents are everywhere! According to U.S. Census information, more than one in every four adults in the United States is a grandparent. Most of those grandparents are Baby Boomers in the 45 to 64 age range. That means that most college students in the United States are likely to have at least one grandparent in their life. The trends indicate that this number will continue to grow to 80 million grandmothers and grandfathers, or nearly one in three adults in America, by 2020 and that American grandparents will continue to play a central role in the lives of their grandchildren and their adult children.
Financial assistance – the most obvious connection
The MetLife Report on American Grandparents is based on a nationwide survey of adults aged 45 or more who have grandchildren under the age of 25. This survey highlights some information about today’s grandparents and at least some of the connections that they have with their college aged grandchildren.
- 63% of those surveyed said that they are giving some type of financial assistance or monetary gifts (of any kind) to their grandchildren.
- 70% are giving less than $5000 and the median amount is $3000.
- 26% of those surveyed are contributing to their grandchild’s education
- 68% of those surveyed said they are not giving any financial advice or guidance to their grandchildren.
- Of those grandparents helping with educational costs, 46% said they are contributing to an educational fund and 24% are helping fund a college education (others may be helping with preschool, elementary or high school costs).
These statistics give one important snapshot of a relationship between college students and their grandparents. Financial assistance is clearly an important piece. When the connection between college students and grandparents is discussed, the topic is overwhelmingly around the ways in which grandparents can best financially help their college student – how much to contribute, when to contribute, how to contribute. But there’s more.