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Sallie Mae is committed to promoting financial literacy, smart borrowing, and healthy credit. As part of this commitment, we ask the public about their experiences with saving, planning and paying for college and report on them. In an effort to foster data-driven decision making among students, families, and schools, Sallie Mae and our affiliates conduct a number of studies.

Research reports from Sallie Mae

Along with a research partner, Sallie Mae has developed an annual mathematically representative picture of how the typical American family pays for college based on in-depth statistical analysis of more than 1,600 parents and students. In addition, How America Pays for College provides critical insight into the attitudes, choices, and values of American families when they plan and pay for college.

New in 2018, Sallie Mae published the research report, “How America Pays for Graduate School.” The report revealed that career aspirations are driving students to graduate school, they’re footing the bill themselves, and borrowing is the number one way they’re paying for it.

Sallie Mae also examined How America Saves for College. This study helps to determine whether American families are saving for college and, if so, how. It also measures attitudes and perceptions of parents about intent to enroll, share of payment responsibility, and confidence in ability to save for the cost of college.

In addition, for the first time, Sallie Mae looked at how college students are managing their money in the study “Majoring in Money: How American College Students Manage Their Finances.” This new study, released in March 2016, reported the results of online interviews of 800 college students between the ages of 18 and 24. The study revealed that college students are taking the right steps when it comes to managing money, are responsibly using credit cards, understand the value of good credit and how to maintain it, and are also eager to learn more, specifically around budgeting and saving.