More Parents Dip Into Retirement Funds To Pay For College

09/02/2010 10:59 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

According to a new Sallie Mae/Gallup survey, the percentage of college parents who are using their retirement funds to pay for college expenses has doubled.

Some 6 percent of parents withdrew money from a 401(k) or IRA to help cover college costs in 2010, up from 3 percent in 2009, according to a Sallie Mae and Gallup survey of 801 college students age 18 to 24 and 823 parents of college students. The average amount withdrawn from retirement accounts jumped from $5,318 in 2009 to $8,554 this year.

The survey reports that families who made more than $100,000 per year used more from their retirement funds to foot college costs, and the money was more commonly used for private schools than public ones.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of a four-year, non-profit private college amounts to $35,000. The average cost of a four-year public college is $14,000.

What do you make of this? Have you used your retirement funds to pay for college? Let us know in the comments.