An old pal stayed with me this weekend. She lives on the Georgia coast but was in town so her 17-year-old daughter could tour UGA and Georgia Tech. Her daughter is a top student who wants to stay in the South for college, so I suggested that she might add Emory, Duke and Davidson to her list.
But the teen told me that she was concentrating on Georgia public colleges where she would receive the HOPE Scholarship.
Increasingly, families nationwide are factoring cost into school decisions, both due to the exorbitant tab for private schools and the erosion of U.S. household incomes. According to a new survey released today, parents are spending less on their children’s higher education. The students are shouldering most of the costs.
I have to admit that I am talking up UGA and Tech to my twins, who are five years away from college. I had encouraged my older two children to look at other regions of the country. The result is that I will need that five years to replenish the college fund after sending my older son through a pricey private college.
The AJC has a story today on the survey results: Here is an excerpt:
Families have implemented more cost-saving strategies to cut college spending in the past academic year, choosing less expensive schools and finding more economical ways for students to attend. More students also are living at home in order to help afford college, according to new survey results.
The findings are from an annual study released Monday by Sallie Mae, the country’s largest student lender. They show that the average amount spent on college by families responding to the survey declined by 5 percent in the 2011-12 school year. More parents and students alike said they make their college decisions based on the cost they can afford to pay than in the previous four studies.
“This really reflects the economic conditions that we see today,” said Sarah Ducich, senior vice president at Sallie Mae. “We are seeing families make adjustments, saving more money and being more cost-conscious.”
The survey, conducted for Sallie Mae by the Ipsos polling firm, was based on telephone interviews in April and May with 1,601 college undergraduates and parents.
Parents spent an average $5,955 on college from their income and savings, results showed. That was down from $6,664 a year earlier and $8,752 the year before. They also borrowed slightly more — $1,832 compared with $1,573 in the 2010-11 survey — although that was still less than they did two years ago.
Students took on more of the burden by digging deeper into their own funds. They spent an average $2,555 on college from their savings and income in the last academic year, up from $1,944 the previous year. But their spending wasn’t enough to make up for cutbacks by their parents.
All told, parents funded 37 percent of college costs through spending or borrowing, down from 47 percent two years ago. Students accounted for 30 percent; grants and scholarships footed 29 percent; and relatives and friends paid for 4 percent, according to the survey.
Just over half of the students in the survey lived at home while they attended college this year, up almost 9 percent from a year ago. Most of that increase was accounted for by families with income of more than $100,000. A shift toward two-year colleges also was evident for a second straight year, Sallie Mae said. Respondents included 29 percent who attended two-year public schools, up from 21 percent the previous year.
“American families are frustrated by the cost but they’re being creative and employing different solutions to make sure their students can go to college,” said Ipsos pollster and managing director Clifford Young.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog