Should college admissions consider diversity in assembling a student body? (AJC File Photo)
Photo: HANDOUT/Associated Press
Photo: HANDOUT/Associated Press

Students, families borrow more for college

Paying for college

Sallie Mae, released results of its latest poll on how students and families are paying for college.

Sallie Mae originates, serves and collects private student loans. The organization had 800 students and 800 parents polled to figure out how American’s are paying for college.

Here are some of the findings:

Students reduced personal spending in 68 percent of families and parents did so in 47 percent.

Students increased their work hours in 50 percent of families and and parents increased their work in 30 percent.

Half of students lived at home to save money; 47 percent who don’t live at home increased savings by adding a roommate.

Twenty-six percent of students enrolled in an accelerated program to cut the time and thus expense of going to college; and 15 percent reduced class hours they were taking to give themselves more time.

Eighteen percent of students changed majors to pursue a more marketable profession.

About 76 percent of students worked to help pay costs, 55 percent of them worked year round. 

More students borrowed this year and they borrowed higher amounts than the previous year. Students borrowed in 36 percent of families, compared to the previous year’s 29 percent.

The dominant source of borrowed money was federal student loans, used by 33 percent of students.

Ten percent of students used private student loans, 4 percent used credit cards, and 5 percent used some other type of loan.

The average amount of federal loans rose by almost $1,500, and private loans by $1,700.

Students and parents equally shared paying-for-college responsibilities in academic year 2016-17, each contributing about one-third of the expense, and scholarships and grants covering 35 percent of college costs, the largest share in the report’s 10-year history.

The average amount families spent on college in 2016-17 was about the same as in 2015-16 ($23,757 vs. $23,688).

Students in nearly three-fourths of families (73 percent) chose an in-state school, and half (50 percent) opted to live at home to save money.

Nearly nine in 10 families (86 percent) said they had expected their child to attend college since he or she was preschool age or younger, but only four in 10 said they had a plan to pay for it.

In addition, only 13 percent of families said they were using 529 college savings plans, the lowest percentage in the past five years.

In other Education news:

The back-to-school routine is not always a smooth adjustment for kids or their parents.

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