Faced with rising college expenses, families dug deeper into their own pockets and borrowed more money to pay tuition bills in the 2009-10 school year, according to a survey by Sallie Mae and Gallup released Tuesday.
Both parents and students dipped deeper into their savings and current income, borrowed more and took more scholarships and grants to pay for higher education this year, as the cost of attendance went up 17 percent on average.
• Seventy-three percent of families said they reduced spending, 48 percent said they increased work hours or earnings, and 43 percent of families said their student lived at home to cut costs, according to the survey in March and April of 801 college students and 823 parents of students.
• As in previous years, the survey found that parents bore almost half of the college-cost burden, with 37 percent of the total cost of attendance paid from parents’ income and savings — the bulk of that, or 21 percent, was from current income — and 10 percent through parent loans.
• Student borrowing paid for 14 percent of college costs, and student income and savings covered 9 percent. Grants and scholarships were 23 percent — the second-most important source of funding for college, the survey found.
• But rising college costs pushed parents’ average contribution from their income and savings to a total of $8,752, a 26 percent hike from the average $6,934 they spent a year ago, while the average amount parents took out in loans to pay for college this year rose 27 percent to $2,261, from $1,775 a year ago.
• Also, the portion of families who said they borrowed to pay for college rose to 46 percent, from 42 percent a year ago, according to the survey.