How Americans Are Covering the Cost of College

“According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition for the 2017-2018 school year was $34,740 at private colleges, $9,970 for state residents at public colleges, and $25,620 for out-of-state residents attending public universities.”

When prospective students and their parents hear about the hefty price tag that comes with a college education, fear and panic can set in. The idea that one may have to pay such a tremendous amount each year to better their life and career can be defeating. What’s important to keep in mind is that while those staggering figures do exist, many people don’t pay the full price for college. There are a variety of different sources that can help one pay for college and bring down the final cost. To save on their education bills, families are making deliberate decisions to strategize and reduce the cost of college in various ways. The below findings may provide some reassurance that one way or another, your family can afford college:

  • Few Families Pay The Prices You Hear AboutThe sticker price of private colleges can be jarring but often they will offer merit aid and tuition discounts that bring the price down for students that wish to enroll. But the majority of students are not attending high-end private schools. College educations come at many different price levels and there are a number of financially friendly colleges and online degree programs.
  • Many Students Don’t Pay Room and BoardOn average students spent $10,800 on room and board this past year. In an effort to make school more affordable, more than half of the college students chose to live at home. Living at home can save students a significant amount of money over the course of 4 years. It’s possible you may be asked to chip in at home for rent and groceries but there are many advantages and disadvantages of living with your parents. It’s worth weighing out the pros and cons before making a decision.
  • Grants and Scholarships Cover a Large PortionCovering 35 percent of the average student’s cost, grants and scholarships are the largest funding source. The account for a greater amount than what either parents or students contribute towards the price of college.Education grants are free money provided to help individuals pay for college. Usually issued by the government, private or nonprofit organizations, grants are a form of financial aid that never have to be repaid. Often times, grants are awarded based on the individual’s needs in contrast to scholarships which are normally awarded based on the individual’s merit.Scholarships, similar to grants, do not have to be repaid. They are gifted funds that students can use to finance their education. Scholarships are offered by several different sources including schools, employers, individuals, private or nonprofit organizations, religious groups etc. Learn how to locate and apply to scholarships here.
  • Share The ResponsibilityRoughly 4% of the average student’s college costs are paid for by relatives and friends. This sounds low but it works out to a contribution of $900 for the average student which can be extremely helpful. The remaining cost is shared by the student and student’s parents each contributing about the same amount towards colleges expenses on average.

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