Sallie Mae's "How America Pays for College 2011, (PDF, 1.03MB) study, conducted by Ipsos, finds that students attend college with increasingly practical reasons in mind: better jobs and earning more money. Based on a nationally representative survey of 1,600 college students and parents, the study found that:
- Ninety percent of students strongly agreed that college is an investment in the future, an increase from 84 percent in 2010.
- 70 percent of students and parents strongly agreed that a college education is necessary for their desired occupation and that college is required to earn more, up from 63 and 59 percent, respectively, in 2010.
- Virtually all families reported taking cost-savings measures, such as attending lower-cost colleges, living at home, or going to school part time. On average, families reported paying 9 percent less for college than they had the previous year.
- Parent sources, including savings, income and loans, funded the largest segment of the average family’s total college expenses, at 37 percent. Students assumed direct responsibility for about one-quarter of the total cost of college, contributing 11 percent from income and savings and 15 percent through borrowing. Grants and scholarships covered 33 percent of college costs in 2010-2011, up from 23 percent the previous year.
How the average American family pays for college
Average percentage of total cost of attendance paid from each source