NEW YORK (7/30/13)--The cost of college is up, but the average American family is spending less on higher education, according to a report by Sallie Mae (ABC News July 23).
The reason? Families are making smarter financial decisions.
According to the annual survey released last week by the student-loan company, since the recession more American families are making decisions about their children's education based on its price tag--most likely out of necessity.
Tuition continues to rise. Over the past five years the cost of tuition at public four-year colleges is up 27% above overall inflation, with the average sticker price at public universities now a whopping $17,860 (Associated Press July23).
Student loan debt is also climbing. Members of the national college class of 2011 had 5% more debt at graduation than the class before them with an average debt load of $26,600, according to the Institute for College Access and Success, Oakland, Calif.
Despite--or because of--these trends, Sallie Mae found college spending per student dropped to $21,000 during 2012 from its 2010 peak, when families were paying $24,097.
Here are some strategies families are using to cut the cost of college:
For more information, read "June Financial Fitness Challenge--Get New Grads Off to a Smart Financial Start" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.