Nearly a quarter of parents expect to have to put off their retirement in order to fund their child through university, a survey has shown.
The debt burden on students is increasing
The strain of funding their child's education has forced one in 20 parents to get a second job and 7% into debt.
Insurer Prudential found that up to 200,000 expected that they would have to delay retirement by 10 years.
But six out of 10 parents said they did not think it was their responsibility to pay for higher education.
A recent study by NatWest found that average debt of students leaving university in England, Scotland and Wales has risen by half in the past year.
This year's graduates owe £12,180 on average, an increase of £4,055 on 2003.
In addition, the NatWest study found that this year's new students expect they will need £26,000 to pay for their time at college.
But despite the rising cost of higher education, 55% of parents admitted they had not made any financial plans to help pay for university, Prudential found.
"These results highlight the enormous financial strain put on parents to send their children to university," said Angus Maciver, director of research at Prudential.
"The fact many of us do not prepare adequately for our children's education means we are getting into further debt or have to work past retirement age."