Research and Statistics

Students paying more for college, saving parents more money


Parents and students still agree that higher education is an investment in the future, and they are getting even better about funding college.

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Parents and students still agree that higher education is an investment in the future, and they are getting even better about funding college and cutting unnecessary costs, says one study.

According to the 2012 edition of the national study from Sallie Mae and Ipsos Public Affairs, students themselves are now covering more of the costs of higher education. Students paid 30 percent of the total cost of attendance last academic year — this is up from the 24 percent they were covering four years prior. Because of this, parents’ wallets are a little thicker than before — they paid only 37 percent of costs, which is down from years before.

The study — consisting of interviews of 801 undergraduate college students and 800 parents of undergraduates — indicates the most common ways parents and students saved money:

  • Living at home (51 percent).
  • Adding a roommate (55 percent).
  • Cutting back spending by parents (50 percent).
  • Cutting back spending by students(66 percent.)

Moreover, the study saw an increase in the number of students attending a community college, where the costs are much lower. Overall, the study revealed that families paid 5 percent less to send their kids to college than they did a year ago.

“Once again, we see that families recognize the value of a college education and that they are taking steps to keep college costs in line with their financial resources,” Albert L. Lord, vice chairman and CEO of Sallie Mae said in a release about the study. “Data confirms again and again that the investment carefully made significantly enhances the lives and livelihoods of those who complete their education.”

The study also broke down how college bills were being funded, as follows:

  • Grants and scholarships (29 percent).
  • Parent income and savings (28 percent).
  • Student borrowing (18 percent).
  • Parent borrowing (9 percent).
  • Student income and savings (12 percent).
  • Relatives and friends (4 percent).

Also, credit card ownership by college students is down to 35 percent, having dropped two years in a row, . The average balance for those students with a card was $755, while 33 percent said they had no balance on their credit cards.

See related:Students shedding credit cards as recession, new law sink in

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