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Average student/family expenditure on college last year only $26K ?

jym626jym626 55361 replies2879 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
edited August 24 in Parents Forum
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/08/24/sallie-mae-americans-spent-an-average-of-26226-on-college-last-year.html.
According to the report, 82% of college students receive “free financial aid,” which includes scholarships and grants that do not need to be repaid. Scholarships and grants covered 31% of costs, about or $8,177, for families on average — making it the largest source of funding for students
But this is only a survey of 1000 students and parents.

The survey: https://www.salliemae.com/about/leading-research/how-america-pays-for-college/
edited August 24
20 replies
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Replies to: Average student/family expenditure on college last year only $26K ?

  • jym626jym626 55361 replies2879 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Students and families covered the remaining costs through a combination of parental income and savings ( 30% of costs), student borrowing (14% of costs), student income and savings (13% of costs), parent borrowing (10% of costs) and borrowing from friends and family (2% of costs).
    But the school and government “financial aid” is likely referring to loans, which is essentially a family/student “expense”.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22709 replies15 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think knowing the OOP (including loans) is a good number to compare, but the total FA, when tuition can range from $4k to $50k+ is kind of meaningless. In my family, one kid had an OOP cost of about $4k per year because of big FA/scholarships and the other kid had an OOP of about $8k; the COA at the second school was less than half of the first school. To us, it was still $4k and $8k OOP.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77784 replies678 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    So the breakdown of the $26,226 is:

    $3,746 student borrowing
    $2,585 parent borrowing
    $7,801 parent income and savings
    $3,502 student income and savings
    $0,417 relatives and friends
    $8,177 grants and scholarships

    Average net price is $18,049 after subtracting $8,177 average grants and scholarships from the presumed average list price of $26,226. Of the average net price, an average of $6,331 is borrowed, with an average of $11,720 from parent and student income and savings and relatives and friends.

    The numbers are believable, because remember that a large percentage of college students commute to attend a community college or regional in-state public university whose list price is relatively low. It is not like the majority of college students are from top 3% income/wealth families attending $75k/year private universities and LACs.
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  • bclintonkbclintonk 7679 replies31 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    These figures are entirely believable.

    According to NCES, about 17 million undergraduates attend U.S. colleges and universities. Of these, 82% of are enrolled in public institutions, which generally have a much lower COA than private non-profit institutions. Only about 2 million attend private non-profit institutions, and another million or so are enrolled in private for-profit schools. Some for-profits are expensive, but others are quite inexpensive, especially those based primarily or entirely on online learning. The 17 million figure also includes about 6 million attending two-year institutions, mostly commuter-oriented public community colleges with relatively low tuition and fees.

    Once you account for scholarship and grant aid, it's pretty clear that most students are paying less than the figure cited, in many cases much less. The average net cost is as high as it is mainly because some students elect to attend costly private schools or OOS publics and end up with a net cost above that mark, in some cases much higher. But attending an expensive private schools or OOS public is a choice, not a requirement and not a birthright. Anyone could choose to go to college and pay a net cost below the national average, and most do





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  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys 16626 replies66 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The numbers look to be quite believable
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77784 replies678 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Note that $26k is the average list price. Average net price after grants and scholarships was $18k, of which an average of $6k was borrowed and an average of $12k was paid by means other than borrowing.

    That $18k net price is still substantial compared to the typical income levels in the US, even though it looks small compared to typical income levels on these forums.
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  • jym626jym626 55361 replies2879 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 26
    there is no "only" about it.
    For many of the readers of cc, a self-selected population, “only” is certainly a reasonable word choice.
    edited August 26
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77784 replies678 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    jym626 wrote: »
    there is no "only" about it.
    For many of the readers of cc, a self-selected population, “only” is certainly a reasonable word choice.

    It is also the case that much of the "typical" (i.e. high income) forum population has the option of attending or sending kids to a $26k per year college, but would rather focus on trying get admitted to and finding scholarships to reduce the net price of $75k per year colleges.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29255 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I worked in an area where $26k was within the mid 50% income range . Very few kids went to sleep away colleges. Most went to community college part time.
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  • jym626jym626 55361 replies2879 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Sure- and in THIS area (CC) there are many people who spend hundreds of dollars on shoes, concert/sporting events, and thousands on college counselors. Its all relative.
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  • dropbox77177dropbox77177 264 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    A net price of $18K for college is a little less than half the $37K average cost of a new light vehicle in the US, of which roughly 12 million are sold annually. Coincidentally, NCES data show that there are about 12 million full time students in colleges and universities.

    $18K is not inordinately burdensome on the country as a whole in my opinion.
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  • rickle1rickle1 1881 replies16 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Good to know I'm finally considered higher than average :)
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77784 replies678 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    A net price of $18K for college is a little less than half the $37K average cost of a new light vehicle in the US, of which roughly 12 million are sold annually. Coincidentally, NCES data show that there are about 12 million full time students in colleges and universities.

    However, only about a third of retail vehicle purchases are of new vehicles. Most retail buyers buy used vehicles that cost less. Also, one vehicle purchase typically lasts several years, in contrast to college spending that happens for four (or more) consecutive years.
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  • jym626jym626 55361 replies2879 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    But often families have multiple vehicles, so there may be a car lease or purchase, and additionally the cost of maintenance and repairs, and for many a loan repayment, on an ongoing basis.
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  • foobar1foobar1 200 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Plus, a couple of states have made community college free or near free (including California this year). That might lower the average student/family expenditure for college a bit going forward...
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  • melvin123melvin123 1546 replies19 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I don't get the point of what the "average" expenditure is and why we care about that. I've read several articles that rank various colleges and talk about the "average cost of attendance". That's terribly misleading. For some the cost is zero, others it's $70k, or $10k all based on the college's perception of what the student can pay.

    I can understand the point of talking about "average" debt and why society might care about that, but even then I think that's not especially helpful because it doesn't show what the real burden of the debt is: $30k debt for a computer programmer is a lot different than $30k for a social worker, just as that same debt is different based on net cost of living in an area.

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  • jym626jym626 55361 replies2879 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Well, since Sallie Mae is the Student Loan Marketing Association and is in the business of making private student loans, their writing an article on how the “average” family pays college costs is not surprising. Its interesting. The issue of their ROI and whether the debt can be paid off with a high paying or low paying job out of college has nothing to do with this article.
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