Social Media

How America Pays for College 2010: A national study by Sallie Mae and Gallup

Sallie Mae's "How America Pays for College 2010" (PDF, 4MB) study, conducted by Gallup, finds that even in a continued period of economic uncertainty, families are digging deeper to invest in what they value: a college degree. Based on a nationally representative survey of college-going students and parents of undergraduates, the study found that:

  • Both parents and students opened their wallets wider, tapped more scholarships and grants, and borrowed more, to pay for the escalating total cost of college, which survey respondents reported increased by 17% from the previous year.
  • Parents paid nearly half (47%) the share of college costs for the 2009-2010 academic year and students paid roughly one quarter through income, savings, and loans.
  • 15% of families used money from a college savings plan — up from 11% last year and 9% two years ago.
  • To make college more affordable, most families reduced spending (73%) or increased work hours or earnings (48%), but a remarkable 43% of families report that their student lived at home.
  • 82% strongly agreed that college is an investment in the future, and 71% strongly agreed that a college degree is more important now than it used to be.

How the average American family pays for college

Average percentage of total cost of attendance paid from each source

Released in August 2010, "How America Pays for College 2010" (PDF, 4MB) is the third annual study of college students and parents.