Back to Blog
How America Pays For College
Students and parents equally share responsibility for paying college costs
While scholarships and grants remained the number one source of funding, the contribution from students was the highest since 2011-12, and nearly equaled the contribution from parents.
Nearly half of families use scholarships for college
Students expect to step up when it's time to pay back
Amounts spent and attitudes vary across the country
Most families expect their child to go to college, but many don’t have a plan for paying
Choices families are making
Differences between borrowers and non-borrowers
Students from families who borrowed were more likely than students from families who did not borrow to:
529 plans have stalled
Factors influencing decisions about college
Attending college because it is the what society expects you to do. Society parents often borrow to pay for college and expect to be solely responsible for repaying loans.
Attending college as entry into a specific profession, or to earn more money. Most believe they will need a graduate degree.
Attending college for social and intellectual reasons. Personal choice and financial aid play a big role in school selection. These families pay slightly more for college, but they use more scholarships and grants.
Attending college is strongly influenced by friends, siblings, advisors, coaches, and other members of the student’s immediate community. Families in this category pay a little less for college and choose a school based on its location. They are more likely to think an undergraduate college degree is sufficient.
Source: A snapshot of the 10th national study by Sallie Mae® and Ipsos