While Mom & Dad Still Help, Students Are Taking On More Of The Costs Of A College Education

The image of students riding high on the hog, flush with cash from mom and dad while partying through college might not be so true to life these days, as a new study shows that students are taking more financial responsibility for paying college costs, whether from their own pockets or through borrowing.

The study from Sallie Mae in conjunction with independent market research firm Ipsos says undergraduates covered 30% of the cost of college themselves during the most recent academic year. That’s the largest amount in four years, with students spending an average of $2,555 from their income and taking out $3,719 in loans, reports the Washington Post.

Parents paid for more than a third of their children’s college costs, but relied more heavily on borrowing than in the past. Out-of-pocket contributions from parents fell to 28% from the peak of 37% two years ago.

“They broke the piggy bank to meet those tuition obligations” immediately after the recession, said Sarah Ducich, senior vice president for public policy at Sallie Mae. Now, “families have adjusted.”

In order to cut costs, more students are doing things live living at home or with a roommate, or working longer hours in order to pay for school. All told, families spent an average of $20,902 on college for the past academic year, down 5% from the previous year.

College costs shifting to students, Sallie Mae survey finds [Washington Post]