What You Need to Know
- This is the case even though college costs fell during the pandemic, Sallie Mae reports.
- More families are starting to plan for college costs earlier.
- Fewer families are filling out the FAFSA.
Parents in the U.S. are paying a larger percentage of their children’s higher-education expenses, even as costs for college dropped during the pandemic.
Through a combination of savings, borrowing and putting aside some of their current paychecks, parents are now footing about 54% of the bill for tuition, room, board and other expenses, according to a survey out last week from Sallie Mae, the student lender, and Ipsos, the polling company. That’s up 2 percentage points from the year before.
In 2012-13, the survey showed that parents said they covered 36% of the cost of college.
Families paid an average of $26,373 in the 2020-21 school year, according to the survey, “2021: How America Pays for College.” That was down from $30,017 the previous year, as the Covid-19 pandemic forced universities to shut their residential dormitories — decreasing or eliminating the residential costs. In some cases, colleges reduced tuition.
Average tuition, room, board and other expenses at a four-year private university in the last academic year was $50,770, while a four-year public college for out-of-state students would run families $38,640 a year, according to the College Board.