In the past weeks, five different states, including Rhode Island, Arizona, Delaware, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, have made changes to their college-saving programs in light of the worsening conditions. This includes adding more diverse funds to the 529 existing investment options to reducing exposure to market turbulence. Further states are expecting to make the adjustments as well, including Nebraska, which all represents a more realistic outlook on the current economic climate. Making these kinds of adaptations is not only a smart move by the states, which could witness a retreat of capital from the despairing past few quarters, but also for the parents themselves.

It is one of those pesky tasks, like many things in life, which requires often a decade of planning. The smartest would even begin looking at this the moment the child is born. All said and done, however, college-saving programs have proven a haven to many concerned parents hoping to provide a safe future for their offspring. According to Morningstar, the past quarter has been one of the worst performing for age-based equities, a primary choice amongst college-saving programs. It used to be at a more conservative 1% to a plunge ranging up to 9%, according to analyst. Although this is only an estimate, as the public report has not been released yet, this would prove to perform even worse than the S&P 500, which fell 8%.

Most of these college-saving programs rely upon making riskier investments when the child is younger, with progressively more conservative investment strategies as the kid gets closer to college. Yet truth be told, it’s not just the failure of the college-saving programs: it’s the system itself. Tuition fees, housing, food, as well as books themselves have all been increasing, making even the most well thought out programs difficult to fully succeed. The move by states is certainly admirable as they attempt to reconcile with the rapidly altering circumstances they exist in, as well as demands for spending cuts. Yet it will take much more than this in order to truly solve the issue.

The answer, contrary to what many in the “Occupy Wall Street”, does not lie in forgiving student loans, a petition idea originating from Robert Applebaum. While many disgruntled graduates would certainly appreciate it, this kind of action will not assist the economy or resolve the dilemmas (for great explanation) Improving the conditions that create these rapidly expanding costs, including legislation towards increased transparency and investment into the public universities with conditions, could alter this future far more rapidly and effectively.

This is good news for everyone in this environment, including the economy as a whole. Yet with debts making any kind of expense controversial and education taking a perpetual backseat in American discourse for the past four decades, this kind of rational response is simply unlikely. For now, we will have to be satisfied with patching up one leak at a time in a sinking ship.