Long before their child earns a college degree, some parents of high school students are already readying their couch in anticipation of a boomerang kid.
About 80 percent of parents expect to support their child financially for at least a few months after graduation, according to a new survey from Upromise by Sallie Mae, which talked to 500 parents with children in high school. That's down from 85 percent who said so in 2014. But more parents seem to be anticipating a longer drain due to tough job markets and student loan debt; 17 percent said they expect their child to need financial support for more than five years after graduation, up from 7 percent last year who were anticipating such a timeline.
The 500 high school students Upromise surveyed were slightly more optimistic, with 78 percent expecting to receive some financial support after college, and just 10 percent thinking they'll still need that help more than five years post-graduation. "Generally, parents and students expect the student to be coming home," said Erin Condon, vice president for Upromise. But a timeline of five-plus years, she said, "seems excessive."
If that stint entails your grad's living rent-free while you foot all the bills, definitely. But there's some nuance to consider. "We have to interpret, what does help mean?" said certified financial planner Sheryl Garrett, founder of The Garrett Planning Network. Financial support covers a wide range, and could be minimal—parents might be covering specific expenses such as the cell phone bill or auto insurance, for example, or offering a rent-free place to live for a set period of time while their grad saves up for a down payment. "That's quite common for parents to help out in those ways," she said.